Hood to Coast tests mind, body, soul


News intern

Imagine the insanity of a crowd of fourth graders running toward the cafeteria as the lunch bell sounds. Then, mix that with about 12,000 sore quads, groins and calves.

You’d probably get a bunch of irritable school children who walk funny. But, if you tried a little harder, you would probably get the largest relay race this continent has to offer: the Nationwide Insurance Hood to Coast Relay.

The 21st running of the race starts at 9:30 a.m. Friday at Timberline Lodge. Runners from each team start the five-mile downhill leg from the start every 15 minutes. Leg lengths range from about four to eight miles, with minor alterations being made nearly every year, and the total distance always around 195 miles.

The course’s 36 legs are divided among the 12 runners on a team. Teams make their way down Mt. Hood on Highway 26 through Sandy and Portland, before heading through St. Helens, Jewell and finally ending on the shores of the Pacific Ocean at Seaside.

Teams typically finish from 20 to 35 hours, with the elite teams finishing in under 17 hours. The course record is 15:44.

The relay began as a small event in 1982 that incorporated eight teams of 10 and has grown to a point where race directors will only accept 1,000 entries that are filled within the first few hours of registration.

Hood to Coast has two sister events that make a shorter 126 mile trip from Portland to Seaside. The Portland to Coast Walk is for fitness walkers and uses the same format as the Hood To Coast. With the shortened length, walkers are only required to do two legs.

The other event is the Portland to Coast High School Challenge that usually involves about 50 teams of high school aged athletes. It’s a way to get kids into a Hood to Coast style race without the intensity of an all-night event that can easily ruin a cross-country season.

These other events lead into some successful Hood to Coast careers. And, despite the agony that they go through, most of the runners who participate in Hood to Coast have been doing so for many years.

“I am somewhat incredulous that I pay money to be sleep deprived, eat gravel dust, forgo decent morning coffee, cram myself into malodorous undersized living vehicle for 24 hours with a bunch of people who desperately trying not to whine and are failing,” said local team captain Steve Becker. “They had better cash the check before I change my mind.”

For a full report on the 2002 Hood to Coast race, see the Aug. 28 edition of the Hood River News.

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Parkdale third graders sing "12 Disaster Days of Christmas"

Welcome to your sing-able Christmas gift list. What follows is an emergency rendition of “12 Days of Christmas” – for outfitting your home or car in case of snow storm, earthquake, flood or other emergency. Read it as a simple list, or sing it to the tune of “12 Days” – you know, as in “ … and a partridge in a pear tree…” Not to make light of it, but the song is a familiar framework for a set of gift ideas that you could consider gathering together, even if the recipient already owns items such as a bunch of coats, tire chains and flashlights. Stores throughout the Gorge are stocked up on all these items. Buying all 12 days might be prohibitive, but here are three ideas for checking any of the dozen off your list (notations follow, 1-12.) The gift items needed to stay warm, dry and safe are also coded to suggest items in your abode (A) in your car (C) or both (B). 12 Gallons of Water (A) 11 Family meals (B) 10 Cans of propane (A) 9 Hygiene bags (B) 8 Packs of batteries (A) 7 Spare coats (B) 6 Bright red flares (C) 5 Cozy blankets (B) 4 Tire chains (C) 3 Flashlights (B) 2 cell phone chargers (B) 1 And a crush-proof first aid kit (B) Price ranges? Here’s a few quotes for days Three, Two, Four and Nine: n A family gift of flashlights (three will run $15-30, Hood River Supply, Tum-A-Lum) n Cell phone chargers (two will run $30-60) n Tire chains (basic set, $30, Les Schwab, returnable if unused for the winter) n Family meals ($100 or so should cover the basics for three or four reasonably well-fed days) n The home kit should be kept in a handy place near an exit, and remember that water needs to be replenished every few months. If you have a solid first aid kit already, switch out the gift idea with “and-a-sto-o-u-t- tub-for it-all …” Otherwise, it’s a case of assembling your home or car kits and making sure all members of the family know what the resources are and how to use them (ie flares and propane). Emergency situations are at worst life-threatening, at best deeply uncomfortable if you and your family are left without power for an extended period, or traveling and find yourself in a situation where you need to wait out a storm, lengthy traffic delay, or other crisis. Notes on the 12 gift ideas: 12 – Gallons of water: that’s one per person in a four-member family to last for three days, the recommended minimum to be prepared for utility outages. 11 – Easy-open packaged goods, energy bars, dried food and nuts are good things to include for nutrition. Think of what your family of four needs for three days to stay fortified and hydrated (see number 12). Can-opener also recommended 10 – If you have a propane camping stove, keep extra fuel handy. 9 – Hygiene bags: put packaged moistened towelettes, toilet paper, and plastic ties in large garbage bags (for personal sanitation) Resource list courtesy of Hood River County Emergency Management, Barbara Ayers, manager/ 541-386-1213. The county also reminds residents to Get a Kit, Make A Plan to connect your family if separated, and Stay Informed. See www.co.hood-river.or.us to opt-in for citizen alerts. Enlarge

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