Another Hood to Coast is complete, and as always, it was fun and an epic accomplishment. I don’t know of a better way to spend a weekend than running more than a half marathon with a bunch of stinky, dirty friends in a large van.
This year, my team, Lady Storm Squad, opted to be a fundraising team. We did this for two reasons: guaranteed entry and raising money for an excellent cause.
Hood to Coast allows teams to sign up as fundraising teams to raise money for Providence Cancer Research. Each team must raise $12,000 to run. We raised $12,532.47 by holding fundraising events, raffling off a handmade quilt, making homemade items to sell, collecting pop cans, and begging friends and family to donate.
Being a fundraising team has more perks than just guaranteed entry:
o Cots – There are cots at Exchange 18. We used them, but we froze. A word to the wise: Wear socks and pack a thick sleeping bag!
o Snacks – Exchange 18 also had some snacks for the fundraisers. I had a Cup Noodles, and I can tell you it was hands down the best Cup Noodles I have ever had.
o VIP tent at the finish line – Being an introvert, the VIP tent was a breath of fresh air. Only fundraising teams were allowed in so we were able to escape the crowds milling around the pavilion.
o Food and beverages at the finish line – We were also fed well at the finish. We dined on an excellent buffet of beans, scallop potatoes, pork, beef, salad, rolls, and a myriad of different dessert (I opted for apple cobbler and was not disappointed). We also received two free drink tickets.
o Private Honey Buckets – These were almost worth it all. They were clean, and there was always one open!
If you want to run Hood to Coast, have an impact on cancer research, and get a few perks along the way, I highly suggest putting a fundraising team together. I have zero regrets about the experience. It’s also great to get together as a team throughout the year—not just during the race. You form more bonds and tighter friendships that way.
We couldn’t have had better weather. It got warm, and there was a little drizzle, but it’s been so much worse in the past, like when it felt like we were on the surface of the sun back in 2016. It was perfect.
I ran Leg 4 so all of my runs were reasonably comfortable. It was muggy during my last leg, but at that stage in the relay, you are so exhausted and uncomfortable regardless of the humidity.
Sleeping is always a challenge for me during relay races. I usually pop in my headphones, listen to an audiobook, and get some sleep. However, we had a 5:30 am start time at Timberline Friday morning, so we ended up sleeping in the rest area parking lot at Government Camp. Seven of us. Crammed in a van. It was not a pleasant experience, and none of us slept more than a few minutes at a time.
Don’t be like us. Don’t sleep in the van at a rest area the night before you start running off an active volcano.
I did sleep great for an hour on the cots at Exchange 18, and then a few hours in the van on our way to our third set of legs.
This year I ran Leg 4, which I hadn’t run before. I loved it. My favorite leg was my first one. It was 7.18 miles of mostly subtle downhill. The weather was perfect – chilly at the start and warmer at the end. It was a beautiful long stretch of road for me to be by myself and enjoy moving my body. I loved it.
My next two runs were 3.8’ish miles long and not as amazing as the first one, but still fun. As my friend Sara says – First Leg Bliss, Second Leg Ugh, Third Leg Kill Me Now.
The congestion seemed normal for Hood to Coast. Our last set of legs we were forced to bail from the van early to meet our runner on time. And I never entered a Honey Bucket that didn’t have a roll of toilet paper in it.
Overall, Hood to Coast is an unbelievable experience. If you can participate at some point in your life, you should. I would run it every year if I was able to.