Hood to Coast comes to Taiwan
It all starts with a WhatsApp group message.
“Hood to Coast is coming to Taiwan, who’s in?”
Within the same day, my Harbour Runners crew whom I’ve rolled with for nearly a decade filled up the spots to form a team. All it then took was a dinner with some crew heads and the next thing you know, the Taiwan event has now become a full on #bridgethegap running spectacle full of outernational teams (Shout out to PATTA and Track Mafia for making it all the way out from Europe!).
This event is a 180km relay, done with a team of five runners and a cut off time of 24 hours. The relay starts from the town of Taitung and ends in Kenting, the Southern most tip of Taiwan. Hood to Coast borders the edge of long distance discomfort, but the relay element brings a whole new dimension of challenges. Running all of a sudden is no longer a selfish act, the sentiment best summed up by my teammate Wendy W. “I stopped running for myself and started running for my teammates, which made the whole experience even more special”.
I’d like to think that the Hood to Coast format is a running spectacle that is not focused on running, but rather a team effort where you give yourself a great excuse to weave yourself in and out of the roads less travelled. All the while being chased by the rest of your team in the support car, rushing through roads that remind you the spectacular beauty that the Taiwanese coast has to offer.
As recent running conversations shift from a lifestyle lead to more peak performance, there is also a fork in the road where runners want to keep using running to connect with their friends and nature again and it feels like Hood To Coast has found the right balance. This event gives the modern urbanite a chance to disconnect from the digital age and feel alive in an analog way. As our teammate Wendy T. said: “Same race, different city, different team, same bond!”.
It’s an event where you can cater to the competitive crowd but more importantly where you feel comfortable to care a little less about the performance, but more about the journey, memories made and putting a big smile on your face. When asked what was one thing he left behind on the trip, my teammate Leo mentioned it was his “Anxiousness probably, learning to let things flow as they will, even you're well planned already. Turns out they surprise you beyond your expectations”.
The event started at midnight, with waves of teams being set off every 20 minutes. It became one of those events where short naps are critical, but somehow harder to do than the running itself.
Leo volunteered for the toughest section, the aptly named ‘God of the mountains’; an 18 kilometre non-stop uphill grind, testing the calves of even the most experienced runners.
On the final few legs of the relay we were treated to stunning views of the coast, and the team van had to stop to take it in. Cheering for teammates as they passed along that coastline will be a lasting memory of Hood to Coast.
I’ll let the visuals do the talking rather than trying to narrate what went down during the 17hrs and 23mins of team ‘DarbourRunners’ (not a spelling error as we took under our wings a teammate from Shanghai’s run crew DarkRunners). Hats off to the Hood to Coast Taiwan team for putting together such an amazing event and the generous hospitality of all our Taiwanese friends and run crews. Looking forward to the next one already.
RUN. EAT. NAP. REPEAT.