I know this seems early, but I want folks to have plenty of time to plan. And mid-October is closer than you think! Also, I apologize for the length of this post....
I am forming a team of Spark People to run in the Hood to Coast next August (2010). And I am looking for teammates.
What is Hood to Coast? I guess the simple answer is in the numbers. It is a 197 mile relay race that begins at Mt Hood and ends at Seaside, Oregon. 1000 teams of 8-12 runners (plus support people, but we will get to that in a minute) will compete against each other and themselves to complete the race in 31 hours.
What I am looking for is:
12 runners – willing to run 3 legs of 5 – 7 miles (okay, I guess I only need 11 – I’m in!)
2 van drivers
3 non-running volunteers to staff various locations along the route for shifts of 6 hours (I think, maybe less – it’s NOT the whole time) – HTC requires three volunteers per team unless everyone from the team lives more than 50 miles from the Portland metro area – sorry, I live here, so we need volunteers
2 vans – ideally extended and/or 10 or 12 or 15 passenger vans so that the driver and navigator can sit up front and the 6 runners can stretch out, sleep, change clothes, eat, and have room for all those activities plus a pillow and a lunch box (so to speak), etc.
Economic cost to the runners - $95 race fee; 1/12 van rental fee if needed; 1/12 gas costs; personal food and beverages for 31 hours
Personal toll on runners – well, you are running 3 legs of 3.7 – 7.4 miles each and sleeping in a van for 31 hours – you tell me
Cost to drivers and navigators – personal food and beverage costs for 31 hours
Cost to volunteers – cost of getting to place of volunteerism (chosen on first-come, first-served basis)
Benefit to all – I’ll talk about that later
So how does this work?
Once I have a team of 12 runners and 2 drivers and 2 navigators and 3 volunteers (ideally all Spark People – but if necessary, we can use family and friends, especially for the driver, navigator, and volunteer positions) I will need the registration fees (we can talk about this more in person) and in October there will be a day that applications can be sent in to fill those 1000 spots. This is the dicey part. Those 1000 positions have been filled on the first day for the past 11 years. So there is no guarantee that our SparkTeam will get in. But we can try. And we can assume and hope for the best.
Once we’re in, we start/continue training. The race isn’t until late August of 2010 (this year’s race begins on the 28th), so there is time. (I know I will need to train – in order to be permitted to stay in the race we have to stay close to the finish-in-31-hours requirement. That means averaging 9:30 miles. I ain’t close. Yet.)
Come next summer I will assign legs, vans, etc. All those details can be worked out later. (Any volunteer for the first leg? It’s all downhill!)
Each van provides support for its runners, dropping them off at their starting point, offering encouragement and water along the way, and picking them off and dropping off the next runner until each has run his/her leg. Then find a place to rest until time to meet the other van and start the whole process again.
Van #1 (legs 1-6) starts at Timberline Lodge at HTC-determined time on Friday. Van #2 (legs 7-12) meets up with van #1 and its runners start their first legs. Van #1 finds a resting place until it’s time to meet up with van #2 and go on to their second legs (#13-18). Van #2 heads off to its resting place until it is time to begin their legs (#19-24). Van #1 has legs 25-30 and then heads off to Seaside to rest and wait for van #2 and the finish line. Van #2’s runners complete legs 31-36 and runner #12 finishes the race on Saturday afternoon/early evening (joined by entire team for final run across finish line on the beach in Seaside). Everybody eats, then the heroic van drivers take the exhausted runners to our family and friends (unless you make arrangements to have your family/friends meet you in Seaside and take you home from there).
Drivers and navigators will be provided with maps. I hope that we will even be able to meet up and drive the course a week or two before the race to look for likely resting areas (along with 999 other vans!) and scout out the course in general. The driver and navigators will nap with the runners, and they will also be responsible for getting the vans to the next meet-up point after nap time.
Runners should be prepared to run in any conditions (day or night, hot or cold, paved roads or gravel logging roads, rain or blistering heat). Runners should also be willing to sleep in the van, day or night, hot or cold. Toilet facilities will be port-a-potties – they frown on using trees, shrubbery, etc. and if you are caught using anything other than a designated facility, the team will be penalized or disqualified. The vans will communicate via cell phone when possible, but there are places where there is no cell coverage. Then we just plan ahead and practice being flexible. (Here is my funny HTC story related to this notion: one of my teammates was able to say she had Mary Decker-Slaney as a “roadkill” [person she passed on the road] because Mary ran the #12 position and her team’s van #1 wasn’t waiting for her at the exchange location. The rules say you have to wait for the next runner, no skipping over runners, nobody can run for another and then make it up later, so Mary was forced to stand there and fume. I wouldn’t want to have been the driver of van #1 on THAT team!)
My own experience with HTC was…. It was hard, uncomfortable, cold, hot, frightening, and one of the most wonderful experiences I have ever had. Running 15-20 miles in 31 hours is hard. Especially when your rest is in a van, and your opportunities to stretch are limited. Sleeping in a van pulled over to the side of the road in broad daylight is tough, but when you are exhausted, you do what you gotta do. Running at 3 a.m. up a gravel logging road all alone is cold and scary. You hope to become roadkill, just so there is another human near you. Running in the sun in the middle of the afternoon is hot beyond words – even for Oregon. You sweat, you drink all of your water, you wonder if you can make it, and you know that your last bit is up a steep hill. The night after the race, once you are back at home, you find you can barely move. Getting up out of bed is almost impossible.
But it was worth it. Running past a church building on your first leg where it seems all the parishioners turned out to cheer you on and the little kids run with you and hand you water – that makes it worth it. Chugging up that gravel road only to come upon a dad and his two kids, bundled up in the bed of their pickup truck, who wake up enough to clap and cheer for you – that is a precious memory I wouldn’t trade for anything. After being roadkill more times than you can count, finally getting your own roadkill on that long hot uphill stretch, while maybe not the kindest of things to do to a fellow runner, that makes it worth it. Grabbing the hands of your teammates – runners, drivers, and navigators - as you cross that finish line in the sand together, knowing that you ran Hood to Coast - the granddaddy of all long-distance relays – that, my friends, is worth all the pain, all the discomfort, all the exhaustion. I promise you, twelve years later you will pull out that finisher’s medal and bib and you will still be proud and amazed at what you accomplished.
You may run other Hood to Coasts after this one. You may run marathons (which are more miles in less time). You may set PR after PR for your 5Ks and 10Ks and Halfs. But nothing, I mean NOTHING, will ever take the place of your first Hood to Coast.
So think it over. Check out the website for this year’s event. http://www.hoodtocoast.com/ Talk to your family and friends and see if they can spare you. Ask me questions. And then let me know you are in.
You’ll love it.
NEF - No excuses, finish!
You are better than you think you are, and you can do more than you think you can.
Portland Marathon 2009 - 10/4/09 - 6:38 - I DID IT!
Portland Marathon 2010 - 10/10/10 - 7:25 - I DID IT AGAIN!
| current weight: 232.5