12,000 runners. World's largest relay race.
1,000 teams accepted and more than 850 teams turned away.
197 miles - from majestic Mt. Hood to the sandy beach of Seaside.
Guess who was not turned away for the 29th Annual Hood to Coast Relay? That's right - ME! My check was cashed in October, but I waited nearly a month for the official acceptance letter. When I found it in my inbox Monday morning I didn't know whether to laugh or cry.
Because, here's the thing: I am not much of a runner. In fact, I haven't ran consistently in more than three years. One thing I've always known, however, is that one day I wanted to participate in the Hood to Coast. Last year the bug hit me hard and I called my dad and said, "Daddy, I bet you want to run the Hood to Coast for your 50th birthday." Much to my surprise (and delight) he confessed he too had always dreamed of running in this epic relay.
(Of course, this was a little more exciting when NIKE was the lead sponsor. I enjoyed the irony of seeing banners proclaiming "Nike's Hood to Coast Relay" everywhere and was looking forward to having a shirt that boasted the same, but, alas, OfficeMax stepped up as the headliner sponsor this year. So our shirts will scream "OfficeMax's Hood to Coast Relay," which doesn't quite have the same appeal.)
I have been wanting - but not bad enough to actually do anything about it - to start running again and with an August 27th deadline and 9.5 minute mile requirement my motivation has arrived. Team Speedy Turtles is ready to take on the challenge!