Tips for a Hood to Coast newbie

Next Friday, I’ll be participating in the annual Hood to Coast relay for the first time, and I’m looking to veteran relay runners for advice.

I’m not a running newbie – I ran cross country and track at Heritage High School and Western Washington University – but I’ve never participated in the “mother of all relays.”

I’ve had quite a few people offer up advice for first-timers. One great piece of advice: make sure to get at least one hour of sleep. Another suggestion: bring fresh running clothes for each leg.

Anyone have any other suggestions?

Our team starts at 7:30 a.m. I’m running leg nine, so my first leg will probably be sometime in the afternoon.

Here’s the breakdown for each of my legs:

No. 9: A “moderate” 7.04 miles beginning in Gresham. This is relatively flat terrain primarily on the Springwater Trail.

No. 21: A “moderate” 5 miles beginning in Vernonia. This is flat, slightly downhill terrain near a creek on gravel back roads. (This leg makes me a little nervous because organizers recommend a bandana or scarf to ease breathing due to dust on the gravel road. No bueno for a runner with asthma.)

No. 33: A “hard” 7.72 miles beginning in Astoria. This leg is full of rolling hills on narrow country roads.

Has anyone run these legs in the past and have any leg-specific advice?

If you’re not yet in the H2C mood, check out The Columbian next Tuesday. I’m working on a story that involves a Vancouver family, founder Bob Foote and kidney donors/recipients.

-Marissa Harshman

Columbian health reporter

Twitter: col_health

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