SparkPeople Members Take on the Hood to Coast Relay


By: , SparkPeople Blogger
  :  122 comments   :  20,204 Views

By Kate Eakman

Imagine running four or five miles in the dark on a back country road. You ran six miles yesterday afternoon. And you still have another five or six miles to run later today.

You haven’t showered since early morning yesterday. You haven’t slept in a bed since the night before last and you won’t get to sleep in one for another day. Rest breaks are in a van filled with five other sweaty runners all doing the same thing you are doing.

Ice and water are your friends.

Exhaustion--well, exhaustion is your enemy.

You paid good money to do this.

And you are having the time of your life.

Welcome to Hood to Coast, a 197-mile relay race that begins at Mt Hood’s Timberline Lodge and ends at the Pacific Ocean in Seaside, Oregon. Every year 1000 teams of runners strap on their running shoes and prepare to participate in the Mother of All Relays. The runners take turns completing legs of four to seven miles, taking 14 to 36 hours to complete the course, one that tests physical and mental strength and stamina.

About this time last year as I watched Oregon prepare for another Hood to Coast I began to formulate the idea of putting together a SparkPeople-only Hood to Coast (HTC) team. I spoke to another local running SparkBuddy, Mike, who agreed that we should field a team, and “Sparkin’ Hood to Coast” was born.

Our team of 12 SparkPeople friends has been planning and training for this race for nearly a year. Let me briefly introduce the 2010 Sparkin' Hood to Coast Team to you:

Jyll-AKA-FUDTRISHA-of Oregon, has been running off and on since college and joined SparkPeople over four years ago. “I can't remember when I first learned about HTC but knew I wanted to run it someday--call me crazy but I need to have challenges in order to stick with my work outs.”

Trish-AKA -RACING4ME and leader of the Rookie Runners Group, is traveling all the way from Canada to participate in this event. When asked what she hopes to gain from running HTC, Trish said, “To finish, have a fantastic time, and meet up with some really great people. I also can't wait to see our team spirit - I have been on many teams, but none will compare to this - and the fact that we are not all from the same place gives it a really cool twist.”

Leah-AKA-SPRING4FAL from California, is featured on many of the SparkPeople advertisements. Leah explains that she is running HTC “Because I am a sucker for anything 'SparkPeople' and all of my Sparky friends were doing it!”

Mike-AKA-KAYAKID who also hails from Oregon, is our co-captain. He has been running for 2 years and says that “I have always wanted to run HTC.” Mike was also recently featured in our local paper for his weight loss of over 90 pounds.

Penny-AKA- RUNNINGWILD, a runner for more than 6 years, teaches running clinics in Canada. Penny is looking forward to the “sense of complete camaraderie with people I've 'known' for years but have never met. My running achievement will be being able to say ‘I DID IT.'

Cary-AKA- TRUEART2 of Washington, has run in two previous relays and has some idea of what she is in for. "Not to worry" says Cary, “I have really enjoyed the camaraderie of hanging out with runners as crazy as me for over 24 hours straight. I'm excited to do the "Mother of all relays" - especially with this team!”

Robin-AKA- KASHMIR also of Washington, explains, “This may well be the highlight of my running life. I’ll be running it, and living it with people who have had their lives changed by SparkPeople. I am looking forward to seeing just how far my mind can push my body when the going gets rough.”

Polly-AKA- BEANCOUNTER2 of Washington, is looking forward to the “new challenge, the opportunity to meet new people that love doing what I do.” She adds, “There is nothing like riding with a bunch of sweaty runners for 36 hours!”

Maria-AKA- GLOBE_TREKKER who is making the trip from California states, “when I heard the team would consist of all SparkPeople members I had to be a part of it. I love the people I've met and close friends I've made on SparkPeople and the fact there are other crazies like me out there who want to do this relay race is even better!”

Jackie-AKA- MISSJCISRUNNING who joins Leah and Maria from California states, “I want to achieve EPIC! I want to push myself further than I have gone before! Although I have run one marathon, Hood to Coast feels like such a monumental undertaking. I want to see if I have what it takes!”

Also on our team is Coach Nancy-AKA- SP_COACH_NANCY. Nancy has been trying to find hills near her Texas home to train on in preparation for her mountainous legs in HTC. Nancy states, "Nothing beats running with others who share the joy of living a SparkDream. These people are more than runners, they are my friends."

I am Kate-AKA- KEAKMAN from Oregon and the mastermind of this group. I ran HTC 13 years ago when I knew nothing and completed my three legs living on 3 bottles of Gatorade, 3 bagels, 6 bananas, and a cup of cold pasta. Ahhh youth!

By the end of this week, 12 SparkPeople members will have completed one of the most prestigious running events in the world and celebrating on the beach of Seaside, Oregon with friends, family and SparkPeople members who are making the trek to cheer us on. What started out as a little blip on the running message boards last August has blossomed into SparkPeople runners, volunteers and 'Ghost Runners' coming together to live a dream.

What makes this year so exciting, just like Spirit of the Marathon brought to life the challenges of running the Chicago Marathon, the movie Hood to Coast will be released this fall documenting this race. So if you have not heard of this event or would like to see what it takes to run 197 miles with thousands of other runners, look for it in your local theaters later this year. This is not an event to be missed.

Seaside, Oregon

Feel free to share your best wishes to the team as we prepare to tackle "The Mother of All Relays!"

Click here to to redeem your SparkPoints
  You will earn 5 SparkPoints
Got a story idea? Give us a shout!
NEXT ENTRY >   Using Farmers Markets to Tackle Childhood Obesity


    I was in Oregon just about the time of the race and as I saw Mt. Hood off in the distance I thought of this team. I hope that you are pleased with the outcome! - 9/15/2010   6:43:05 PM
  • 121
    Another amazing group of Sparkpeople! - 9/10/2010   11:11:03 AM
  • 120
    This was great. Thank you for sharing. I wonder if many people understand that you aren't just running down the Cascade Range, but also up and over the Coastal Range. You ran through my county too. I am glad to be part of Spark People. - 9/10/2010   4:56:33 AM
  • 119
    Simply AWESOME! I am so inspired!! This is what SPARK is all about! - 8/28/2010   8:18:47 PM
  • 118
    Simply Amazing, Awesome, Inspiring! Good Luck to all! - 8/26/2010   10:28:52 PM
  • 117
    Super excited for y'all and looking forward to cheering the team on in Portland!
    Have a great race and great fun!
    C~ - 8/26/2010   5:51:37 PM
  • 116
    good luck! - 8/26/2010   12:33:33 PM
  • 115
    That looks like it would be an awesome experience, enjoy. - 8/26/2010   7:54:12 AM
  • 114
    Beautiful pictures - hope the team enjoys the view while you toil on your run. GO TEAM! - 8/26/2010   12:14:44 AM
  • 113
    I have done HTC three times and am so bummed to be unable to do it this year. You are in for a great time. I have never been so tired nor laughed so much as when I have done this relay! Go Sparkers! - 8/25/2010   11:40:41 PM
  • 112
    Best of luck to you! I'll be waiting to read more about how things go!! - 8/25/2010   9:18:04 PM
  • 111
    HUGE Applause to all the team members for meeting their ultimate challenge and doing it for the love of life. Thank you for representing SparkPeople and the motto it encompasses. Good luck! - 8/25/2010   7:54:10 PM
  • 110
    Kate great write!! Spreading the Spark for Oregon with HTC at your heals is wonderful. It will be lonely running on the back roads of Oregon with no lights. I wish your team the best of luck. We on the motorcycle deterrence and safety group will keep an eye out for you. I will be personally cheering for Hood To Coast Sparker! - 8/25/2010   6:28:26 PM
  • 109
    My sister-in-law tried to get a team together to run the Utah Red Rock Relay in Sept and the Las Vegas Ragnar Relay in Oct, but both fell through. I'm still hoping someone picks me up as an extra runner for Ragnar. Sounds like it'll be a blast!

    Friends who sweat together, stick together. - 8/25/2010   5:33:36 PM
  • 108
    Jyll, it's been so fun getting to know you on SP - wishing you the best of luck!!!

    Rest of the team - good luck, what an adventure! - 8/25/2010   5:30:13 PM
    BEST OF LUCK TO YOU ALL! - 8/25/2010   4:34:10 PM
    This is so exciting. Wish I could be part of it but since I can't, I'll be cheering you guys on from NYC - 8/25/2010   4:03:14 PM
  • 105
    Congratulations to all you "youngsters"!

    Retired and with disintegrating discs in my back puts me out of awesome runs now, but years ago I learned that to complete great events like this you have to concentrate on getting your rest in between running legs.

    White noise on an iPod can be a huge help for naps. - 8/25/2010   1:36:05 PM
  • 104
    Yay Polly!!! Praying for you and the whole team! Can't WAIT to get a firsthand account of it all! So proud of you!
    ~Karrilee~ - 8/25/2010   11:12:54 AM
  • 103
    I'm cheering from Austin, and am very proud of you sparkers. Can't wait to see the movie. - 8/25/2010   11:04:01 AM
  • 102
    I'm walking the Portland to Coast Relay this weekend. Same as the Hood to Coast, but only 2 legs and walking instead of 3 legs & running. Hope to run into the Spark Team along the way. I've walked the relay twice & was a driver about 11 years ago for a HTC team that my husband was on. My goal is to run HTC some day. Maybe next year. Hope you have a blast! - 8/25/2010   11:03:55 AM
  • 101
    I'm so bummed not to be doing Portland to Coast this weekend. I'm not a runner but I love the walk and this is an AWESOME event. I love the bonding and being in a van full of folks with healthy snacks sounds even better. Have a great time! - 8/25/2010   10:46:30 AM
  • 100
    You go TEAM! Let us all know how you do! - 8/25/2010   10:28:12 AM
  • 99
    This is so awesome! Have a great time and good luck! - 8/25/2010   10:20:59 AM
  • 98
    I read about this race about 2 years ago and I thought it sounded like so much fun! I'm just getting back into running again and hopefully there will be more groups in the future that I can be a part of someday! - 8/25/2010   10:03:34 AM
  • 97
    I'm not a runner, but this sounds like a fun and very challenging goal to have accomplished!

    Kudos and best of luck to all. :) - 8/25/2010   10:00:12 AM
  • 96
    This is so exciting!! Best of luck to all the runners, and I can't wait to see the documentary!! - 8/25/2010   9:56:38 AM
  • 95
    Good luck to everyone ! I'm cheering for you all ! - 8/25/2010   9:24:25 AM
  • 94
    I've always wanted to do that race too, someday I will! Have fun out there!!!! - 8/25/2010   9:23:44 AM
  • 93
    Yeah! Jackie you rock. I'm so amazed and proud of you. Go Girl! - 8/25/2010   9:06:33 AM
  • 92
    Woo Hoo that is so cool! Go Team Spark! - 8/25/2010   8:56:03 AM
  • 91
    Good luck and have a ball! Can't wait to hear all about it - 8/25/2010   8:31:55 AM
    What a fabulous experience! Go Team!
    Can't wait to hear about your experience! - 8/25/2010   8:26:18 AM
    Can't wait for the full report. I would love to be part of it! I am part of a relay here in the Northeast in September "Reach the Beach" so I would love all of your insights. (Keep me in mind for next year!
    Have a blast! - 8/25/2010   8:23:15 AM
  • 88
    Wow! What an experience you all will share. I want to say that I will be with you in thoughts and heart. Wishing I could do what you all do. Have a Great time. You all keep us going. This story is truly an inspiration. - 8/25/2010   7:58:53 AM
  • 87
    You are going to do great!!! I can't wait to read all the reports. Have the best time ever! - 8/25/2010   7:56:42 AM
  • 86
    Sounds like a incredible experience. Will be rooting for you from Vermont! Go Spark Team!! - 8/25/2010   7:41:21 AM
  • 85
    Good Luck to everyone! - 8/25/2010   7:27:22 AM
  • 84
    The very best wishes to the team! Woohoo! Way to go! - 8/25/2010   6:58:26 AM
  • 83
    wish i was there - 8/25/2010   12:32:52 AM
  • 82
    This is going to be so fun!! Its an honor to be part of the team. - 8/24/2010   11:55:40 PM
  • 81
    nice job kate, i am so glad to be a small part of this. thanks for have the rudder with ya! - 8/24/2010   11:47:41 PM
  • 80
    All this relay business I've seen on Spark lately has planted a little seed in me, I'd love to look into a relay race next year after I accomplish my half marathon goal this year.

    What a great setting to run in, I've been to both Seaside and Mt. Hood. Run strong this weekend Sparkers! - 8/24/2010   11:43:32 PM
  • 79
    One more reason for me to be thankful to you, Kate. I'm Spark-famous! LOL See you tomorrow! - 8/24/2010   11:37:17 PM
  • 78
    Good luck to you all! What fun it will be even if it's a challenge! I wish I could be there to cheer you on at the coast but alas I'm flying back to Kansas so I will miss it. - 8/24/2010   10:57:50 PM
  • 77
    3days! 3days! Three days! 3days! 3days! Three days!3days! 3days! Three days!3days! 3days! Three days!3days! 3days! Three days!3days! 3days! Three days!3days! 3days! Three days!
    and counting. It is going to be so exciting. Safe running, hydrate, and have a blast! - 8/24/2010   10:24:15 PM
  • 76
    Woo Hoo!! You all are going to have the times of your lives! This is one memory you will ALWAYS cherish!!

    I'm so excited for all of you!!

    (Especially Jackie....I'm her Ghost!) - 8/24/2010   10:18:02 PM
  • 75
    what an amazing dream you all have turned into a reality! - 8/24/2010   9:37:09 PM
  • 74
    Awesome! What an inspiring adventure. It will be the experience of a lifetime!
    What a way to interact with fellow Sparkers who have many common bonds in addition to a passion for running.
    Best to all. - 8/24/2010   9:15:18 PM
  • 73
    So bummed i couldn't ghost with you all! Have a blast- you will all be in my thoughts and prayers this weekend!! - 8/24/2010   9:10:01 PM

Please Log In To Leave A Comment:    Log in now ›


Close email sign up
Our best articles, delivered Join the millions of people already subscribed Get a weekly summary of our diet and fitness advice We will never sell, rent or redistribute your email address.

Magic Link Sent!

A magic link was sent to Click on that link to login. The link is only good for 24 hours.