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Hood to Coast, one step at a time

World’s largest running and walking race raises $700,000 for Providence hospitals
By Brenna Visser

The Daily Astorian

Published on August 28, 2017 7:55AM

Last changed on August 28, 2017 2:20PM

Teammates gather at the Hood to Coast finish line in Seaside on Saturday to greet the last member of the team to compete in the race.

Colin Murphey/The Daily Astorian

Teammates gather at the Hood to Coast finish line in Seaside on Saturday to greet the last member of the team to compete in the race.

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One of the first competitors to finish the Hood to Coast Relay makes her way along the boardwalk toward the finish line in Seaside on Saturday.

Colin Murphey/The Daily Astorian

One of the first competitors to finish the Hood to Coast Relay makes her way along the boardwalk toward the finish line in Seaside on Saturday.

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Teammates cheer on their anchor leg runner at the finish line of the Hood to Coast Relay in Seaside on Saturday.

Colin Murphey/The Daily Astorian

Teammates cheer on their anchor leg runner at the finish line of the Hood to Coast Relay in Seaside on Saturday.

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A runner makes the final turn off the boardwalk in Seaside toward the finish line of the Hood to Coast Relay on Saturday.

Colin Murphey/The Daily Astorian

A runner makes the final turn off the boardwalk in Seaside toward the finish line of the Hood to Coast Relay on Saturday.

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Members of a team competing in the Hood to Coast Relay cheer on the last runner as they approach the finish line on Saturday in Seaside.

Colin Murphey/The Daily Astorian

Members of a team competing in the Hood to Coast Relay cheer on the last runner as they approach the finish line on Saturday in Seaside.

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A runner smiles as she makes her way across the finish line of the Hood to Coast Relay.

Colin Murphey/The Daily Astorian

A runner smiles as she makes her way across the finish line of the Hood to Coast Relay.

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The band Radical Revolution played on the main stage at the end of Hood to Coast Saturday.

Brenna Visser/The Daily Astorian

The band Radical Revolution played on the main stage at the end of Hood to Coast Saturday.

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Radical Revolution played at Hood to Coast.

Brenna Visser/The Daily Astorian

Radical Revolution played at Hood to Coast.

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More than 19,000 runners and walkers competed in this year’s Hood to Coast.

Brenna Visser/The Daily Astorian

More than 19,000 runners and walkers competed in this year’s Hood to Coast.

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SEASIDE — After two years of cloud cover and windy woes, Seaside welcomed 19,000 runners and walkers from the 36th annual Hood to Coast Relay with a clear and sunny day.

Runners came from all 50 states and 43 countries Saturday to compete in the race that spans from Timberline Lodge to Seaside’s Promenade, covering 199 miles and raising $700,000 for Providence hospitals, Chief Operating Officer Dan Floyd said.

After the race, thousands celebrated on the beach with beer, pop-up food stands and musical performances from Radical Revolution and the Brian O’Dell Band until the sun set over the horizon.

While Hood to Coast is known for featuring world-class athletes capable of Olympic-style race times, a chunk of the money raised for cancer research comes from groups like “You walkin’ to me?” — one of the 400 race walking teams who participate in the Portland To Coast Walk Relay portion of the event.

“There aren’t a lot of race walkers out there, so it’s a pretty tight-knit community,” team captain Marek Ziegien said.

The Portland-based team, donning bright yellow shirts with an illustration of the movie “Taxi Driver,” are all co-workers who have been competing in this event for the past five years.

The team likes to keep it light, rotating team names with other walking puns like “Walks on Walks Off” and “Sasqu-walks.”

But the walking itself is anything but casual.

“We’re a part of a race walking network. There’s a real technique to it,” team member David Howitz said. The team competes in other events where there are strict guidelines for race walking form. And thinking of race walking as a slow sport is a misconception, they said. Currently, the record for fastest walking time for a mile is 5 minutes and 31 seconds.

The technique comes down to how the arm swings, how the hip drops and making sure to roll the foot forward. But that challenge of balancing physical and the mental components is what makes race walking more fun than running to some, team member Michelle Chuaprasert said.

“If you think you’re just going to walk faster, it’s not going to work. It’s not intuitive,” she said.

But for some race walking teams, like the “Christopher Walkins” from Sherwood, competing in Portland to Coast is a way to connect as friends out of the routine of their everyday lives.

“Why do we race walk? Because we don’t run,” team member Jenni Kelley laughed. “Because someone on your friend’s team cancels, and you do it for the first time and then you get hooked.”

For this team, race walking isn’t about form and just doing something physical, team member Michelle Coxcy said.

“It’s about doing something for ourselves,” Coxcy said. “It’s not easy, but it’s something we can do together that’s fun.”

















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