Last night Sherry and I risked our well being (only a little as there really wasn't that much snow and Volvos are made for snowy driving) to go see the premiere of a documentary called "Hood to Coast" about an annual relay race in Oregon that involves 1000 teams and 12000 runners going 197 miles from 6000 ft up Mount Hood to the beach at the Pacific Ocean. It is similar to the many Ragnar relays that now exist around the country.
The movie was an awesome display of human spirit and the wonderful camaraderie and unique calling of long distance running. The unique calling was reflected in the story of R Bowe who died of a heart attack at age 30 and his family and running mates from Washington and Lee College's cross country team. Every one of them had a reason to run. Some more than others--but every one felt called.
it was similar for the group Heart N Sole. This was a group of older women--including one who had had a heart attack on the Hood to Coast course the year before the movie was filmed! Yet, she felt continued to be called to run and was running the relay again. She has since run a full marathon again.
The move also showed the camaraderie. Of course, even in a general 5K to marathon distance there is camaraderie, but it it understandably different when you spend the better part of two days running 197 miles with a group of 12--particularly the five who are in the same van the whole time.
While I would not refer to the other two teams stories' as so inspiring, the team that made it despite very little formal training was interesting, and the Dead Jocks in a Box was an interesting group showing how athletes age (or do not age so) well.
The movie "event" included interviews afterwards with some people from the movie, some who were involved with producing the movie, and some running greats from the past who had taken part in the race at some point. Alberto Salazar--part of the team that still holds the record for the course with an average pace of under 5 minutes per mile. While my wife thinks all runners who would run the race are nuts, I find the pace that Salazar's team kept to be impressive but insane. Mary Decker Slaney--who I mainly remember for the incident with Zola Budd in 1984 was also interviewed. Bart Yasso was also there.
A very inspiring film. Enough to make me want to keep running even more than I already did as part of my long-term well-being plan.
And the race is also a huge fundraiser for the American Cancer Society's DetermiNation program. Please consider donating to that later in the year when I am raising funds leading up to the Baltimore Marathon again or to the University of Maryland Greenebaum Cancer Center for which I am raising money from now until the Maryland Half Marathon in mid-May.