The Lostboys go chasing history at Hood to Coast
Here’s the fact sheet on Hood to Coast – 199ish miles from Mount Hood to Seaside in Oregon. 2 vans, 12 runners, with each runner running 3 times (at least one of which falls smack in the middle of the night) for a total mileage of between 15-18 miles each.
This year, the Lostboys brought together a team to take a shot at the co-ed course record. 12 individuals, plus 2 drivers and 2 photographers, with the simple goal of running as hard as possible to take down the oldest standing course record, held since 1992.
In the end, we covered this year's 196.9 mile course in 18 hours, 34 minutes, and 49 seconds. That works out to an average of 5:40 per mile, or 3:32 per kilometer. Course record pace was 5:32 per mile, so we ultimately fell a bit short...or did we?
According to this blog post, which was shared with me by officials at Hood to Coast, the 1992 team ran an average of 5:44 pace over 192.1 miles (total time of 18:21). You see, each year the course varies slightly, so average pace is used for record purposes. It appears there may have been a mix-up here, with the correct finish time but the incorrect distance being used to calculate the record pace. 18:21 over 199 miles equals 5:32 average pace, but if the 1992 course was indeed 192.1 miles then our team actually did run a faster average pace.
1992: This year saw another big jump for the number of Nike teams entered from a total of 6 teams in 1991 to a total of 17 teams in 1992 (12 running teams and 5 walking teams). We entered our first team outside the Corporate division, Nike Team Swoosh, which won the Open Mixed division with Nike employees such as John Truax, Dave Taylor, and Deanna O'Neil. Their average pace of 5:44 for the 192.1 miles still stands as a course record for that division and the longest standing record for Hood to Coast, now at 23 years.
As of writing this, I do not actually know if we are officially the course record holders. I only noticed this discrepancy when getting ready to write these words, when I tried to figure out who was on the 1992 team that ran so fast.
What I do know is, regardless of the record, HTC is special. Those moments out there, shared with the team, are moments I wouldn’t trade for anything.
Like when we realized that Clay had consumed some plastic wrap on a spring roll he was having after his second leg. Sitting in the middle seat of the van in the pitch black around 11 at night, Leigh Anne turned on a light to try and find a sweatshirt. Clay had already eaten the first half of the spring roll, and when the light came on he noticed that the second half was wrapped tightly in a thin layer of plastic. I literally cannot describe how hilarious it was to watch him slowly realize that the first half had also been wrapped in plastic, and that he simply had not noticed while eating it. No health issues have been reported (yet).
Or when James Randon broke out a long sleeve, full legged speed suit for his final leg of the race.
Or even when our first van’s battery died when we were getting ready to drive back to Portland from the beach and we had to spend 30 minutes asking people for jumper cables.
Or anytime any of us checked out Whoop app to confirm what we already knew – our strain scores (Whoop’s metric to measure effort, on a scale from 0-21) were all 20+, and our recovery scores (Whoop’s metric to measure how recovered you are, calculated using a mix of sleep, HRV, resting heart rate, and respiratory rate) was either insanely low or nonexistent… sheesh.
This race is special, regardless of what the time on the clock showed at the end.
The record gave us something to chase, but ultimately the motivation to get back out of the van again and pore ourselves into the course came from wanting to do it for our teammates.
Every time someone rolled through an exchange zone and back into the van you could tell how hard they were pushing. The mixture of sleep deprivation, physical exhaustion, physical pain (specifically in Alana’s case as she pushed through a hip injury she suffered two days before the race to keep our team in the hunt), hunger, dehydration, it was all smeared across our faces, but it just made you want to go even harder.
This race is a team experience. And our team, composed of real friends brought together by that shared pursuit of potential within the running world, made this special.
Running, especially after high school or college, is mostly a personal pursuit. You are chasing individual PRs and accomplishments, out there primarily for yourself even when you have a team to train with or race with. But HTC is different – every person, whether they are running, driving, taking photos, feeding people PB&J, is a link in the chain. One kink and the entire thing falls apart.
The success of the team is based very tangibly and equally on the performance of every single team member. This causes a shift – you still want to perform individually, but you want to perform less for yourself and more for the team. You edit, cutting cooldowns short or cramming into smaller spaces in a van to ensure that that next runner is ready to go. There was no checking of splits for individuals, just trust that we were all pushing as hard as we could for one another, because we were all invested.
'This race is a team experience. And our team, composed of real friends brought together by that shared pursuit of potential within the running world, made this special.'
It's a literal sacrifice for the good of the team, and it wouldn’t work as well nor be nearly as enjoyable if it wasn’t a team composed of true friends. That care for one another elevates the experience, and in the end allows you to flow better and push harder when the going (inevitably) gets tough.
It’s a unique experience in the running world, and it’s special.
In 2018, Mike and I were at the beach after HTC, and I talked about how I wanted HTC to become an annual Lostboys thing where we’d bring a true team of real friends together to try to run fast and maybe win. In 2021, it finally happened.
So who cares if we set the course record this year, cause we’re sure as hell coming back to try and push harder for years to come.
All gas, no breaks. Keep the dream alive.
Special shout to our sponsors that made this race possible this year - Whoop, Red Bull, Bandit, Sauri, Hyperice, and TEMPO. And shout to our team of dear homies that made this so special: Clay, Leigh Anne, Caitlin, Erin, Daniel, Christina, Rolanda, Mike, James, Jeremy, Alana, Finley (driver), Huma (driver), Brenden (photog), Jason (photog).