Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Hood To Coast...A Must See Film!

Last week I encountered a difficult decision…to run or not to run. Every Thursday I try to make it out to the Rose Bowl to run with A Snail’s Pace. They’re a running group with different chapters in Southern California. I LOVE running with them because they’re fast and I find that I really push myself. This particular Thursday just so happened to be the same Thursday Hood to Coast was playing in theaters. For those of you not familiar with Hood to Coast, it’s the world’s largest relay race which takes place in Portland, Oregon every August.

Hood to Coast Poster
The film was shown in theaters last month for a special one night engagement. On this one night, the film aired around the country opening with a live preview featuring Burt Yasso, CRO of Runner’s World Magazine. I’d missed the original screening and contemplated going when the encore presentation was announced.

I left work for the day thinking, run or movie? I was stopped at red light when a Tweet came through on my cell phone from @Kui360: “@MissJewels212, please go watch Hood to Coast for me. It's not playing in my area. Bummed... :(” It was a sign, turn left and head to the theater.

I got there with ten minutes to spare. I thought for sure the theater would be crowded so I bought my ticket on the road (shhh, don’t tell the police I was using my phone while driving…I waited till I was stopped at a light, promise.) I went inside and was pumped for this movie. I’d never done a relay before so I was really excited to see what this Hood to Coast was all about, how it worked, the coordination of a 12-man team and seeing runners in action. Instead of previews or ads on the screen, a slideshow of the different teams played. It only got me more excited for the film to start. A few minutes before show time, a familiar face walked in. It was my college buddy Rudi and a friend of his! We sat together and waited in anticipation. And then it began…

The movie covered the history of Hood to Coast and followed the journey of four teams participating that year. It was an incredible documentary on a legendary relay that was created in 1982 by Bob Foote, president of Oregon Road Runners Club. The 197-mile relay race had grown tremendously over the years with teams now being selected through a lottery process which opens in October for the relay in August. The relay has 36 legs, each varying in length and level of difficulty; each runner runs three legs.

What was interesting about the film was that it was not only a documentary about the relay itself but that it also highlighted teams like Dead Jocks in A Box, a team comprised of a group of older men who have been participating in Hood to Coast for several years. Watching them come to grips with the fact that they are no longer "fast" is quite commical. I must say, I admire anyone who can run a 7-minute mile especially in their 60's...according to them, that's slow.

The film really demonstrates the passion and respect these groups have for Hood to Coast. For example, Heart n Sole another group made up of women who have also been long-time participants. Kathy Ryan, one of the teammates had actually died during the previous year running the relay but was brought back to life and is eager to run Hood to Coast again. This woman’s determination is borderline psychotic to the average person, but as a runner you definitely understand the pain and heartbreak she experiences when her doctor tells her that she needs to hang up her sneakers.

Another group is Team R. Bowe running in memory of Ryan Bowe. This story was so touching. Ryan had run his first Hood to Coast at the age of 12 by default; his father had formed a team and one of the runners backed out last minute. Then 12-year-old Ryan asked his dad if he could run with them, and so he did. He later died at a young age leaving behind a wife and a baby. The film follows his wife, mother, brother, father, and friends who participate in his honor.

And finally, we have team Thunder and Laikaning, the most non-experienced team of all…the bad boys of the bunch if you will, who decide they will not train but instead drink beer and just hope they cross the finish line.

Hood to Coast was truly an amazing adventure to watch and follow. It was very inspiring and made me think that I could not wait for October to put my name in the lottery. The miles in the film looked grueling but the glory these teams felt, their dedication and their stories were incredibly moving. A definite must see if you get the chance!

After the film, Rudi and I talked about about the possibility of doing a relay...more to come on this! Stay tuned!


  1. Hey Sis: Thanks for telling me about the movie. I never heard of it...but sounds like something I NEED to watch to be inspired for my Seattle FULL! EGAD!

    How's about WE do a relay in Seattle? You do 26, and I'll do the .2? LOL (They say the last .2 is the hardest-so you can thank me later) :o)

    I'm so excited for your endeavor to do the FULL, though I am glad you are going through with it before me. You're so awesome like that! haha

    Although I've done fulls before, it's hard to explain to people how it's even harder to come back into it. Hmm...maybe I should blog about that! :o)

    Miss ya sis...sounds like you're doing awesome with your training (please put in some extra miles for me...THANKS!).

    Still here root'n for ya! :o)

    p/s I like your countdown! It's preeeeety! :o)

  2. Hey sis! I just saw your post. Thanks so much for the encouragement. I have to be honest...I'm SCARED! I know I need to get over it mentally.

    I love your idea of the relay...me 26 and you .2...NOT! LOL!

    Glad you liked my review. It's def a must see!

    Miss u and hope we can find a marathon to do again together soon!

    PS It took forever to find a nice looking countdown. Then I realized it looked a lot like yours :(But I loved it so again, proves that we must have been separated at birth!