And they are off.
1,050 teams of runners, from every state in the union and 36 nations, have come to Oregon to compete in the 34th annual Hood-to-Coast Relay. Another 450 teams are competing in the Portland-to-Coast and High School Challenge Walk.
That means about 18,000 runners and walkers are participating, with each team supported by two team vans, shuttling team members between race legs.
The 198-mile Hood to Coast Relay, founded in 1982, started at 5 a.m. Friday at Timberline Lodge near Mount Hood. The Portland-to-Coast Walk Relay, added in 1991, and the Portland to Coast High School Challenge, added in 1998, started today too.
The starting line is at Timberline Lodge and racers cross the finish line at the Seaside Turnaround, just 9 miles north from Cannon Beach, where the Tolovana Inn annually hosts teams and team supporters for this incredible event.
The teams switch participants every few miles. The relay race has 36 legs, varying from from about 3.5 to 7.75 miles. Each team member runs at least 3 during the non-stop event.
The race legs are long, and factoring the terrainchanges and the weekends’ forecast rain, the run can be gruelling. But the shared struggle leads to shared success, and a huge post-event party on the beach at nearby Seaside.
Each year, teams are chosen by lottery from the entries postmarked on the opening day of registration, typically in October of the previous year. The race has sold out opening day of the lottery for the past 17 years.