Relay teams from across the nation and around the globe made their way to Timberline Lodge last weekend for the 21st running of the Nationwide Insurance Hood to Coast Relay Race.
The 198-mile race, which took 1,000 teams from the foot of Mt. Hood to the Oregon Coast, began on a brisk, overcast Friday morning, and concluded in Seaside some 30 hours later.
Although the course proved rough at times, most of the 12-person teams didn’t need 30 hours to complete the race.
Winning the Men’s Elite division for the first time ever was the Atlanta Track Club, which averaged five-minute, eight-second miles to complete the relay in 16 hours, 59 minutes, 27 seconds.
Their inspired performance was enough to hold off the No. 1 seeded Team Allegra of Summit, N.J. by nearly 10 minutes (17:09:04) and two Portland-based teams, “11 Mad Dogs and an Englishman” (18:20:29), and Williams College Alumni (18:39:12).
“Having another team so close was a big help really,” Atlanta team captain Jake Johnson told The Oregonian. “When it’s late and it’s dark, your mind can wander. But with Allegra so close, it kept our minds on it. We kept complete focus the whole time.”
Baba Yaga of Monticello, Minn., finished first in the women’s division for the second straight year with a time of 21:11:27, while the Super Friends of Vancouver won the Portland to Coast High School Challenge in 13:45:32.
Three Hood River-based teams competed in the Hood to Coast Relay, with the best finish being turned in by the Mixed Open team, “We Few We Happy Few.” They finished the race in a time of 26:53:40, good for 72nd in their division.
Another Mixed Open team, the Gorge Plodders, finished 126th with a time of 28:19:54, while the men’s team of “12 Fools on a Hill” finished 125th with a time of 27:06:44.
Each relay team consists of 12 runners, and each team member must complete three of the race’s 36 legs. Each leg varies in distance from 3.9 to 8.2 miles. Legs also vary in difficulty, from easy to hard.
Due to the popularity of the race, entries were limited to 1,000 this year. Two other events, the Portland to Coast Walk and the Portland to Coast High School challenge also drew a lot of support.
Each race caters to a diversity of participants, from the serious runner/fitness walker to the casual teams out for the adventure of it.
Individual names of local runners were not available at time of publication. Any local runners who participated in the 2002 Hood to Coast Relay and want to share their stories are asked to contact Dave Leder in the Hood River News sports department at 386-1234.