Hood to coast is a 197 mile relay race from the lodge area on Mt Hood to the ocean. There are 12 runners in a team (6 per van and 2 vans typically) , and each runs 3 legs of 6 miles.
This relay started a long time ago and has become very popular..they limit it to 1000 teams (12,000 runners!.
The movie starts with no music..it's dark..you can see the headlamps of runners and there's one runner just visible in some dim lighting from the camera. She's going along at a good clip fast for her..you can hear her breathing a bit and suddenly an elite runner blows by like she's standing still..she lets out an "Whoa!" in surprise...and the audience is also woken up a bit ;)
It's a good beginning shot ...you can totally imagine yourself there and it gets the juices flowing right off the bat.
The movie follows the exploits and history of 4 teams....I'll leave out the details to prevent being a spoiler.
Things I liked about the movie:
- It got me excited the same way I am pre-marathon. It's a big physical challenge. The running is not that many miles, but remember you are racing. Imagine running 3 back-to-back all-out 10k races with no sleep riding in a van for 24 hours.
- It's a group challenge....the team aspect was different from usual "just you and the road" aspect of running. After seeing the movie I get that and I'm interested in experiencing it.
- The photography was great. Oregon is beautiful and the course looks pretty interesting.
- The personal stories were each interesting and sometimes moving.
- WARNING...TEENY SPOILER: When the slacker-type girl from Thunder and Laikaning finishes her leg with the 1100' of climbing you can tell she's totally hooked...after all the slacker-talk, she's practically speaks like a religious convert down off the mountain. Fun to see.
- I think the movie should have had about 15 minutes cut ...it's a bit too long. But hey, how many running movies are there?
- The pre-movie patter from Bart Yasso etc was basically content free (or redundant with the movie) and didn't add anything..sorry Bart. We didn't stay for the post-movie interviews as it was getting late.
- The teams they followed must have had 12 members each, but we didn't see most of the members at all. i.e. they focused on just a small part of each team. That was weird in retrospect when I started wondering where they all were.
It's not a "great documentary" but it's worth seeing so I do recommend renting the DVD when it comes out.