POWELL BUTTE, OR -- Nearly a thousand runners and walkers took part in the first ever Hood to Coast High Desert relay, Saturday. Hood to Coast CEO Jude Hubber says the organization brought the popular relay series to Central Oregon because people were asking for it, "We have a radius of Hood to Coast, where there’s a certain volunteer base that lives in Portland. So, to be able to get outside of that – we took one up to Washington, we did one in Pacific City; now we’re going to Texas, and Hilton Head, and China, and Amsterdam. So, it’s been kind of fun."
Hood To Coast High Desert Coming This Fall (01/17/2018)
Running teams started at Brasada Ranch, while walking teams began at the Powder House Cove Boat Ramp. Both finished back at Brasada, "The first teams took off at 4 a.m. and we sent them out every 15 minutes until 6 a.m.," Hubber tells KBND News, "And, the walkers had one wave at 5 a.m. It was raining when we got up." But, the chilly, wet weather didn’t dampen the spirits of the six-person teams that took part. Meg DuMez, a blogger for Run Oregon, came from Portland to participate, "All of the legs that I was part of, easy navigation – not easy legs! I went up a hill that I was not expecting; said bad words going up the hill I was not expecting. And now I have a lovely, shiny medal to take home with me."
The course took the 163 teams past ranches, rivers and mountains, even up the Prineville Grade and past the Facebook data centers. Prineville runner Mark Rhoden has participated in over a dozen relays. But, he says, this one was special, "To be able to be by your home and then you get done at a major exchange, and you can go into your local store in the town you’re from; it never happens that way." He says his all-male team had a great time, even if the weather wasn't ideal, "It was pouring rain, this morning; I was running in the rain and was just soaked."
Unlike Hood To Coast – known as “The mother of all relays” – Saturday's High Desert event was just one day. Hubber calls it a huge success and is already looking forward to next year. "First place team was an all-female team out of Seattle. That’s our first race that we’ve had where there’s an all-female team that’s first place overall, so it’s kind of a big moment for us."
A total of 147 running teams completed the course, along with 16 walking teams. Click HERE for complete results.
Pictures: (top) Runners head through the Crooked River Gorge (courtesy Hood To Coast Relays);
(top right) Runners in the first wave wait at the starting line, at Brasada Ranch (Heather Roberts);
(upper right) Course markings dotted the landscape in rural Crook and Deschutes counties (Meg DuMez);
(above) Heather Roberts (far right) with her Run Oregon Team at the finish.