Once anybody runs their first race, they suddenly start secretly dreaming of all the major races they want to accomplish. You may have just run your first 5K, but that doesn’t stop you from envisioning crossing the finish line of your first marathon. Even if you don’t tell anybody, or even start training for it, it’s in the back of your mind somewhere.

My currently-pipe-dreams-but-one-day-hopefully-reality races?

1. An Ironman

2. A Ragnar Relay

Now neither one of them needs to be that brand- any Ironman-distance triathlon or any long distance running relay works for me.

A few weeks ago I watched the Hood to Coast documentary, and now you can add that right next to Ragnar on my list. Who wouldn’t want to run from the top of a mountain all the way to the beach?

hood-to-coast mt hood

Relays are my all time favorite races to run. Hood to Coast is a relay on steroids; it’s also the largest in the world: 12,600 people in teams of 8-12 run 200 miles broken into 36 legs from Mt. Hood to Seaside on the Pacific coast.

hood to coast course map

If you’re thinking “that must take days!” you’re right- teams ride along the course in vans while one person runs at a time. Hopefully they can get some sleep, but chances aren’t high.

The Hood to Coast movie gives you a little bit of a glimpse of what the whole thing’s about. It follows four teams through the race; each with very different experiences.

One of the teams, the Dead Jocks, has some of the original Hood-to-Coasters that have run it every single year since it’s inception in 1982. They have to make sure the teammates they pick run fast enough to let them place during the race, which will give them automatic entry to the next year’s race. Otherwise it’s up to a lottery.

There’s a team that is running for a family member they lost who loved to run, and had even run the Hood to Coast relay as a kid. It wasn’t just about running for this team- it was about remembering, honoring, and healing.

hood to coast at night

And then there was a team with a woman who had almost died on the course the year before. I believe she had a heart attack and collapsed in the middle of the race- two other runners came to her rescue and literally saved her life. She spent the year healing after a triple bypass and came back to tackle the course again with team Heart-n-Sole, this time with plans to finish it out.

hood-to-coast running realy

The last team is the one that didn’t quite sit well with me. It was a team of people that worked together that just up and decided to do the relay. Most of them weren’t runners. I appreciate that this team shows the race isn’t just for the elite or for highly accomplished runners and anyone can participate, but they pushed it to the extreme. At least two of the team members didn’t even get up to a 5k in training. Basically they didn’t train at all; they just showed up. That’s asking for injury.

They did provide a bit of comedy in the middle of some heartbreaking stories though. “I think what we should do is train as little as possible, like don’t do any training, just drink and eat and do no training, and then if we do accomplish the race, all the better.”

hood to coast movie

The movie only follows a few of the more than a thousand teams that do the race each year- everyone running for a different reason and everyone with a different running background. The length of the race –both in distance and in time- adds a whole new dimension to the high of running. Add in lack of sleep, needed to eat multiple meals, and keeping up the teamwork through stressful times, you really have quite the event on your hands.

Maybe one day. Smile


Here’s the trailer for the movie if you’re interested:


Have you ever done a long distance relay like Hood to Coast or Ragnar?


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