Posted by: David Stewart | August 31, 2009

Hood to Coast 2009: Race Report

The Race – 197 mile long course, stretching from Timberline Lodge on Mt. Hood to the beach at Seaside, Oregon.  Literally “Hood to Coast”.

Teams of 12 runners are split into two groups. Every runner is responsible for running three legs, each about 10 kilometers long. The two groups of runners switch off with each other (in what is called a “van exchange”) which allows half of the team to rest while the other half is running.

This year’s race had perfect running weather: slight drizzle to rain and cooler temps meant we avoided the heat problems that sometimes pop up for H2C. And the rain meant that we had no dust problem with the legs run on gravel roads.

Team 161 – “Crazies Going Coastal”

Our team has run Hood to Coast for “several years”. I don’t know the whole history since I joined them as a fill-in and just stuck around. We don’t always get into the race – there is significant competition from teams wanting to get in, and you don’t always win the lottery.

Although we only had three of us who initially wanted to enter as a team, we eventually grew into a full boat.  And I was really pleased with everyone on our team and how the personalities gelled. This is really important: There have been some teams I have run on that don’t mesh, and it can be hell to spend so many hours with people you don’t get along with. Thankfully, there was no problem with that this year.

We did have one unfortunate scheduling snafu which caused us to idle the team for over an hour. Fortunately, we were running about an hour ahead of our predicted time, so we really just caught up with our prediction, which should ensure that we don’t get penalized in future races.

My Personal Race

  • Leg 9 – 6.89 miles, rating “Medium”. Pace: 7:42 minutes per mile.  This is a mostly flat course along the Springwater Corridor, with half gravel and half pavement. Weather was a slight drizzle and was a perfect temperature, at about 3:00 in the afternoon.
  • Leg 21 – 5 miles, rating “Medium”. Pace: 7:47 minutes per mile, at about 1:00AM on a normally dusty gravel forest service road in the coast range. Because of the gentle rain, the dust was nearly non-existent but there wasn’t a ton of mud either.
  • Leg 33 – 7.72 miles, rating “Hard”. Pace: 8:01 minutes per mile.  This one is rated hard because of its length and the early rolling hills. The third leg always seems hardest because your body typically doesn’t want to “go” when you hit the “go button”. Weather was again perfect – cool, but the overnight rain had stopped.

Overall: 7:52 average pace per mile for 19.61 miles.  Whew!

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