Hood to Coast

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Runners with Mt. Hood in the background during the 2008 Hood to Coast

The annual Hood To Coast Relay is an overnight, long-distance relay race held in the U.S. state of Oregon, annually in late August, traditionally on the Friday and Saturday before the Labor Day weekend. It is the largest running and walking relay in the world (with 12,600 in Hood To Coast Relay, 18,000 total participants, including Portland To Coast Walk Relay and High School Challenge Relay). The Hood To Coast has filled its team limit for the past 28 years, and 21 straight years on Opening Day of the lottery.

The course runs approximately 320 km (200 mi) (the course length changes by 1-5 km each year due to small changes made by race organizers) from Timberline Lodge on the slopes of Mount Hood, the tallest peak in Oregon, through the Portland metropolitan area, and over the Oregon Coast Range to the beach town of Seaside on the Oregon Coast.

Walkers and high school teams may choose to compete in the Portland To Coast Walk or Portland To Coast High School Challenge respectively, both of which are held in conjunction with the main Hood To Coast Relay and start in downtown Portland instead of Mount Hood.

Hood To Coast hosts several picturesque one day relays as well with HTC Pacific City, HTC Washington, HTC High Desert (Central Oregon) and HTC Texas. Hood To Coast went international in 2016 and annually hosts Hood To Coast China, or "H2C China" in conjunction with Yao Ming's company, Starz Sports. In late early July each year, Chinese and US runners in HTC China (limited to 250 teams) start on the mountain at Thaiwoo Ski Resort (site of the 2022 Winter Olympics), and traverse a mountainous, picturesque course to its destination 110 miles later in Zhangjiakou. Additional annual international HTC events include Hood To Coast Taiwan, Hood To Coast Israel, and the inaugural Hood To Coast Europe.


The relay was founded by Bob Foote, who was President of the Oregon Road Runners Club. The first relay in 1982 drew eight teams that ran 165 miles from Timberline to Kiwanda Beach near Pacific City, Oregon. The relay grew rapidly to over 400 teams by 1986. In 1989, the finish area was moved to Seaside where it remains today.

In 2019, the Hood & Portland To Coast Relays and HTC Race Series was proud to become a Certified B Corp, and first in the running and athletic event industry! B Corps undergo a lengthy assessment process to show how they meet the highest standards of verified social and environmental performance, public transparency, and legal accountability to balance profit and purpose. Hood To Coast, with B Corps form a community of leaders and drive a global movement of people using business as a force for good.

Cancer research and fundraising has long been part of the event, and in 2018, the race raised over $880,000 for the Providence Cancer Institute, making it the second-largest road race cancer fundraising program in the nation.

In 2006, Felicia Hubber, joined the organization to oversee race logistics, as Race Director and Chairperson, overseeing the long term vision and Hood To Coast mission moving forward. [1]


Open to all interested competitors, but limited to 1,050 twelve-person teams, Hood To Coast has filled its limit on opening day for the past 21 straight years. Teams each year are chosen by lottery from entries postmarked on opening day of registration, (first Wednesday of October). The Portland To Coast Walk and High School Challenge are limited to 400 and 50 teams respectively; entries are accepted on a first-come-first-served basis until all spaces are filled.


2008 Running all night to the finish.

The 320 km (200 mi) Hood To Coast course consists of 36 legs; each team member runs three in rotation. The course is run primarily on paved asphalt roads and paved asphalt or concrete multi-use off-street paths, with small portions of the course on sidewalks and gravel roads. The legs vary in length from 5.4 km (3.4 mi) to 12.5 km (7.8 mi); some legs are virtually flat, and others descend and/or ascend steep hills. Consequently, a runner may total between 21.9 km (13.6 mi) and 31.7 km (19.7 mi). Teams in the full Hood To Coast relay must complete the course within a 36-hour time limit.

Teams start on Friday between 5:00 a.m. and 2:45 p.m. in staggered waves of approximately 25 teams every 15 minutes. Teams are seeded based on previous race pace times (extrapolated based on a specific deterioration factor over three legs, and taking into account additional factors) for each team's submitted roster. Thus the flow of teams through the 35 exchange points and finish line remains relatively smooth, with all teams finishing the race by the closing time of 9 p.m. on Saturday.

The course starts at Timberline Lodge at the 6,000-foot (1,800 m) level of Mount Hood, and proceeds down Timberline Road to Government Camp. This first leg drops 2,000 feet (610 m) in elevation over about 6 miles (9.7 km); the next two legs from Government Camp to Rhododendron have a combined elevation drop of 2,300 feet (700 m) over about 10 miles (16 km).

Runners proceed west along U.S. Route 26 to the towns of Sandy and Gresham, where the route proceeds along the Springwater Corridor trail to the Sellwood neighborhood in southeast Portland. The route then proceeds north along the paved Springwater/Willamette River trail and crosses the Hawthorne Bridge west into downtown Portland.

After crossing the Hawthorne Bridge, runners proceed north along Naito Parkway in downtown Portland along the west bank of the Willamette River and onto U.S. Route 30 to St. Helens. From there onward, the route passes through hilly rural and sometimes unpaved backroads through the communities of Mist and Birkenfeld on the way to the finish line in Seaside.

The Portland To Coast Walk Relay and the High School Challenge Relay follow the last 24 legs (129 miles) of the course, starting from the Hawthorne Bridge in downtown Portland. Each participant in these relays walk or run at least two legs in rotation.

Logistics and atmosphere[edit]

Each twelve-person team is allowed two vehicles no larger than a standard-sized van. While the vans generally follow the race course in support of their runners, certain narrower portions of the course require one van to make a detour to alleviate traffic congestion. Teams usually give themselves funny or original names and decorate their vehicles according to a theme.

Teams are expected to provide their own provisions. Local schools, granges and churches along the route provide sleeping areas, food, and showers to participants as fundraisers (see HTC handbook). Teams compete in divisions based on gender (women, men, and mixed) age (based on the age of the youngest participant) or corporate. At the Finish Area Stage, an awards ceremony is conducted. Photos will be taken with the winning women's and men's Hood To Coast teams, along with each of their respective team name/time/year engraved on a large leaded glass goblet trophy for women's and men's winning teams.

All teams that include at least one member living within a 100-mile (160 km) radius of Portland are required to provide three volunteers to ensure adequate personnel at turns and exchanges along the race course.

The event members light themselves up with flashing lights and rainbow colors; the event is thus easily mistaken for a gay pride parade.


The race is the subject of the 2011 film Hood to Coast, directed by Christoph Baaden. The film chronicles four teams who ran in the 2008 race. The film premiered at the 2010 South by Southwest Film Festival and was released to wide acclaim in theaters in North America on January 11, 2011.


  1. ^ Boaz Herzog, "The anchor leg in world's largest relay", The Oregonian, August 25, 2006.

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