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40th annual relay run brings more than 19,000 participants as they make their way from Mount Hood to Seaside

PMG PHOTO: CHRISTOPHER KEIZUR - The 40th annual Hood to Coast relay made its way through Sandy and Gresham Friday, Aug. 26. From the windy peak of Mount Hood to the sunny sands of Seaside, tens of thousands of runners cruised through Sandy and Gresham Friday morning, Aug. 26, for a milestone rendition of the "Mother of all Relays."

The 40th annual Hood to Coast Relay is a festive spectacle, with 1,050 running teams of 12 descend from Mount Hood with support from vans, which often are decorated with slogans, flags and window drawings. The 19,000 participants make their way through legs, passing batons (snap-on wrist bands) to teammates waiting at checkpoints.

PMG PHOTO: CHRISTOPHER KEIZUR - Runners were excited to make it to the Gresham Main City Park relay exchange. In total, everyone traverses 198 miles as a team, supported by more than 3,600 volunteers who make the event possible.

And Hood to Coast is about more than just the festivities and challenge, the relay is a major fundraiser. The Providence Cancer Institute has been the primary beneficiary since 2014, and through the years more than $6 million has been raised. All of that has been used locally in Oregon to bolster cancer research, treatment and support services.

PMG PHOTO: CHRISTOPHER KEIZUR - Sandy High School, relay exchange No. 6, was one of the more festive atmospheres along the course.  "The 40th Anniversary Hood to Coast Relay and Portland to Coast Relays would sincerely like to thank Oregon's cities and counties, residents and first responders for your patience and support of Hood and Portland to Coast participants," said Felicia Hubber, chairwoman and race director of Hood To Coast/Portland To Coast Relays. "The hospitality of local residents, volunteers and employees has been remarkable throughout the years."

PMG PHOTO: CHRISTOPHER KEIZUR - The start line atop Mount Hood was a festive atmosphere.

Party on the mountain

It all began at 2:30 a.m. up at Timberline Lodge, where the stars shone above and the teams roared as their lead-off runners began.

"It's all downhill from here," called out the race MC at the start line.

The beginning of the race, at 5,500 feet above sea level, has a festive atmosphere. Despite the early hours, everyone was excited to embark on the running journey. There was an "athlete village" with shops and giveaways, and music playing over loudspeakers. The runners were released in waves every five minutes, to ensure there wasn't clumping at any point along the course.

PMG PHOTO: CHRISTOPHER KEIZUR - Teams of runners made their way along the 198 miles of Hood to Coast to support cancer research.  Those runners in the early morning hours, when it was still pitch black, had plenty of safety precautions. They wore reflective safety vests and had relay-mandated light vests to stand out even more.

There were plenty of other ways to prevent the run from being dangerous or a nuisance to the community. The relay exchanges, where runners would swap in, often were relegated to the right lane, allowing support vans to queue and normal traffic to continue. There were volunteers at any tricky intersections, both to watch out for drivers and keep the runners on course.

PMG PHOTO: CHRISTOPHER KEIZUR - Runners relied on headlamps and colorful vests as they started at 2:30 a.m. Friday, Aug. 26, at Timberline Lodge on Mount Hood. Through the mountain communities of Rhododendron and Zigzag, there was a heavy fog that descended over the runners and occasional spurts of mist. But everything cleared up as they made their way through downtown Sandy and to the first major exchange at Sandy High School. That sixth exchange was a chance for runners to be cheered on as they passed off the batons.

PMG PHOTO: CHRISTOPHER KEIZUR - Hood to Coast runners make it to Sandy High School.  They then made their way through rural East Gresham, onto the Springwater Corridor at Boring, and then through Gresham and a ninth baton exchange at Main City Park. The runners then continued along the Springwater toward Portland, meeting up with the walking and challenge teams, who start at the Oregon Museum of Science and Industry. For most, a little over 24 hours later, they celebrate in the surf at Seaside.

PMG PHOTO: CHRISTOPHER KEIZUR - Team Alice in Runderland was one of many costumed, festive groups at the 2022 Hood to Coast relay.

Hood to Coast timeline

1982: First Hood to Coast Relay from the mountain to Pacific City with eight teams.

1989: Race outgrows Pacific City, moves finish to Seaside with 750 teams.

1991: 10th anniversary, Portland to Coast walk begins.

1995: Nike "Mambu Baddu" elite team smashes course record at 15:45:55 (4:51 per mile), Cindie McKenna runs first solo.

2011: 30th anniversary, race expanded to 1,250 teams, 35 countries and all 50 states represented.

2014: Olympic athletes Ashton Eaton, Lopez Lomong, Josh Cox all participate.

2016: More than $600,000 raised for the Providence Cancer Center.

2022: 40th anniversary of the run.

More photos

PMG PHOTO: CHRISTOPHER KEIZUR - Runners made their way along the Springwater Corridor Trail through Gresham.

PMG PHOTO: CHRISTOPHER KEIZUR - The start line atop Mount Hood was a festive atmosphere.

PMG PHOTO: CHRISTOPHER KEIZUR - Sandy High School, relay exchange No. 6, was one of the more festive atmospheres along the course.

PMG PHOTO: CHRISTOPHER KEIZUR - Sandy High School, relay exchange No. 6, was one of the more festive atmospheres along the course.

PMG PHOTO: CHRISTOPHER KEIZUR - The 40th annual Hood to Coast relay made its way through Sandy and Gresham Friday, Aug. 26.

PMG PHOTO: CHRISTOPHER KEIZUR - The 40th annual Hood To Coast relay made its way through Sandy and Gresham Friday, Aug. 26.

PMG PHOTO: CHRISTOPHER KEIZUR - Sandy High School, relay exchange No. 6, was one of the more festive atmospheres along the course.

PMG PHOTO: CHRISTOPHER KEIZUR - The 40th annual Hood to Coast relay made its way through Sandy and Gresham Friday, Aug. 26.

PMG PHOTO: CHRISTOPHER KEIZUR - Sandy High School, relay exchange No. 6, was one of the more festive atmospheres along the course.

PMG PHOTO: CHRISTOPHER KEIZUR - Runners were excited to make it to the Gresham Main City Park relay exchange.

PMG PHOTO: CHRISTOPHER KEIZUR - Runners were excited to make it to the Gresham Main City Park relay exchange.

PMG PHOTO: CHRISTOPHER KEIZUR - The 40th annual Hood to Coast relay made its way through Sandy and Gresham Friday, Aug. 26.

PMG PHOTO: CHRISTOPHER KEIZUR - Runners were excited to make it to the Gresham Main City Park relay exchange.


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