This is the 2nd part in the recap of Run Oregon’s 2018 Hood to Coast Pacific Relay team, run by our friends from the Sunstone Running Club.
The baton returned to the team’s first runner again for leg 7. This was leg was reported to be 8.24 miles long. After the handoff, the leg started on a paved road along the beautiful Nestucca River. After about 2 miles, the road turned onto a section of graveled road that sometimes was only one lane. Some sections had pieces of gravel rock that were the size of golf balls. It took some fancy footwork to find the smoothest route. After about 3 miles, the road turned back into a paved section until the next exchange. The views were amazing: there were some small waterfalls that we passed by and the sound of the river made the run enjoyable even after running a hard downhill first leg.
Leg 8 was just a beautiful run in the woods by the river. Shade and breeze made the running conditions perfect although that could be different later in the day. There were no complicated directions to worry about. the pavement was very nice, and I had no issues with footing. It was basically flat with little rollers. The 5 miles were very pleasant, but since it was my last leg I ran as fast as I could, so I was ready for the leg to end by the time I was finished.
Leg 9 We loved the scenery of this leg, running along the river. Sometimes our runner was able to see the little waterfalls here and there and that made it more enjoyable to run it, the views were just so incredible. “So many times I just wanted to stop and snap a pic or two,” said Vina, “but I was on a mission of chasing another runner that just passed me, how dare she … (ha). It turned out to be my fastest run ever!!”
Leg 10 was HOT and fully exposed. However this went through rolling farmland, so the scenery made up for any discomfort. “Since it was my last leg, I went all out,” said Helen, noting that “6.3 miles came and went quickly. I didn’t see any other runners, and only saw one walker when I was within view of the exchange. I was glad to see race vans going by, and the course markings were excellent, so I never worried about being lost.”
Leg 11 was Sach’s turn again, and he said, “I loved this leg! You start on a flat road but quickly turn on to narrow, but still paved, road going uphill. The road then turns to packed gravel and hard dirt with some muddy sections, and just keeps going up and up. The trail has large sections that are covered by trees to protect you from the heat of the day, but definitely bring water as you won’t see vans until the end. As you near the top of the climb, the first thing you see is the clear sky ahead. At the top, you get an amazing view that you can take in while you catch your breath for a few seconds. Also at the top, we were lucky enough to have a water cooler and some energy gel packets. Time to refuel and start enjoying the downhill. This is the part where you have to be careful as the trail gets steep and has lots of large rocks. Make sure you don’t trip as you’re flying down the trail to make up time lost on the up hill. The last few miles of the are a gradual downhill/flat which is nice. You don’t really notice the down hill but you feel yourself going faster than when its flat. Finally, as you exit the trail, you run along the highway for about a mile and half. You’ll see the orange signs soon enough and use whatever energy you have left to make it to the exchange.”
Leg 12 was 7.9-mile run along the road. This leg was a little bit more boring scenery-wise. Runners start off along the highway where all you can see is marshes and the occasional home. The smell in this section was … not the greatest. After a couple miles, the road curves and the course starts running past houses that border the ocean. Unfortunately, during this section you could not see the ocean because it was blocked by houses. “Between miles 2-6 there are a lot of (very small) rolling hills,” reported Shannon, “which I prefer to run instead of pancake flat. Because the houses block the ocean, there is not much of a view or a breeze in this section. It is also completely exposed to the sun, there is not tree cover. You are also running directly on the road as there is little to no shoulder, but all the cars that drove by slowed down and gave me plenty of space, so I felt comfortable. The last 2 miles is where I had to climb 2 hills. They were not huge hills (nothing compared to the hills the others ran in their legs) but after 6 miles and very little sleep, those 2 hills felt a lot bigger than they were. However, when I reached the top I was rewarded with a beautiful view of the ocean. At the top the 2nd hill, there was a sign that said “last hill climb” which was reassuring because at that point you just want to be done. After the 2nd hill, you descend into Pacific City and are directed towards the finish line, which finishes at the ocean, facing Haystack Rock. Overall, I was very happy I chose to do leg 12 as I have always wanted to finish a relay, but waiting to be runner #12 seems too long to wait. Running a 6-person relay and being the last leg made the wait seem less long.”
Overall every member of the team really enjoyed the 1-day relay. The benefit of doing a 1-day relay is that you don’t have to take a day off of work to do it. We all thought another benefit would be that we were more rested, but since our start time was 3:15 a.m., we didn’t get much sleep the night before. Marc recaps his rest strategy for the day before: “Friday night I went home at 5 p.m. and ate dinner and tried to take a nap until 11 p.m. Then I showered and got ready to meet the team at midnight for some food and to decorate the van before the run.”
Yes, it was weird starting when it was still cold and dark. Normally for 2-day relays you ease into the night time and get used to the temperature as it slowly drops. It was strange to start out cold and tired and get more warmth and energy as the day went on. It was nice being one of the first teams to start (the first group started at 3:00 a.m.). The exchanges were not crowded and we didn’t run into any traffic. It also gave us the opportunity to stop along the route and support our runner with water or cheers, which is always appreciated. Starting so early also gave the event a much smaller feel, which was nice. We had the opportunity to talk to other teams that we repeatedly saw at exchanges. The only downside of this is that you rarely saw any runners while you were running, which is always fun.
I think overall though, every relay you do it’s the people in your van that will make or break your experience. I had such a wonderful time at this event and that would not have been possible without a supportive team. Everyone was easy-going and supportive and no one cared about our pace or our times. Wwe were all just there to run and have fun doing it.
Hood to Coast put on a great 1-day relay. The signage and directions were all spot on. The volunteers that we saw were all excited and helpful to us. Finishing third across the finish line was an awesome experience for us, as a team used to being in the middle of the pack. Having to park about a mile from the finish was not a favorite but understandable necessity. The shuttle buses were plentiful and got us to the finish and back to our van quickly. We did wish that they could have included the drink tickets when we received our medals at the finish since the only one that still had their bib on was our anchor runner. Overall we would definitely recommend this HTC Original Pacific City relay to any team wanting to try a 1-day relay.