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America's longest relay race starts and Mt. Hood and goes right through Southeast Portland en route to the coast

DAVID F. ASHTON - In late afternoon of Friday, August 26th,  traffic backed up along S. E. Johnson Creek Boulevard, as Hood to Coast runners come westward on the road toward the relay transfer point at of S.E. Harney Street, Johnson Creek Boulevard, and 45th Avenue. The 40th annual "Providence Hood to Coast Relay", known informally as the "Mother of All Relay Races", brought thousands of runners through Inner Southeast Portland all afternoon and late into the evening on Friday, August 26, on their 199-mile journey on foot to Seaside.

Drawing participants from over 40 countries and all 50 states, a thousand teams of runners, with eight to twelve members each, took turns running — with their remaining teammates riding in vans or SUVs from one "transfer point" to another.

DAVID F. ASHTON - Kelsey Bergerson of Team Girls on Parole, Guys on Patrol of Camas, Washington, handed off to teammate Tonya Kerr. Vast numbers pf runners came down the Springwater Corridor Trail beside the Brentwood-Darlington neighborhood from Gresham toward the hand-off area in Inner Southeast — where the "baton" transfers from one teammate to the next — "Transfer Point #11", near the complex intersection of S.E. Harney Street, Johnson Creek Boulevard, and 45th Avenue.

Motorists caught unaware encountered a traffic jam at the intersection. Most drivers were patient as "street monitors" stopped traffic to allow runners to cross the street.

DAVID F. ASHTON - From Portland, Team Slow Motion Ninjas member Chloe Shmays got the teams wrist-slap bracelet baton from incoming runner Mat Demski. From there, fresh team members headed west on the trail beside Tideman-Johnson Park, crossed S. E. McLoughlin Boulevard on the pedestrian bridge near Ochoco Street, and continued into Sellwood, before turning north past Oaks Amusement Park toward their next transfer point at OMSI — the Oregon Museum of Science and Industry.

"I'm too exhausted to talk!" was the gasped comment we most often heard from runners coming to that exchange point to hand off their team's official baton — actually, a singular wrist-slap bracelet — to a teammate.

DAVID F. ASHTON - Off the Hood to Coast runners went, westward from the Johnson Creek Boulevard transfer point, down the Springwater Corridor Trail toward Sellwood and beyond! Sometime in the night the last of the runners passed through Inner Southeast, and by early the next morning, there were was no sign that thousands of runners had come through the area. Even the portable toilets had been removed.

If you're interested in participating, think about getting into the "sign up lottery" for the 41th Anniversary of Hood to Coast on August 25, 2023. For the history of the race, and information on next year, go online right here — tinyurl.com/y5d4cum6


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