Felicia Hubber, Hood To Coast race director, Jude Hubber, director of marketing and Robert Foote, owner, pose with a small version of the Hood To Coast movie poster. Foote began the relay race 30 years ago and uses the for-profit business as a platform to raise funds for non-profit groups.
Terry native involved with promoting Hood To Coast Relay
By Kay Braddock
It wasn’t the first time Hood To Coast Relay owner Robert Foote had been approached about featuring his nearly 200-mile relay race in a documentary film. But according to Jude Hubber, Hood To Coast Relay director of marketing, the pitch presented by documentary filmmaker Christoph Baaden in September 2007 offered something other filmmakers had missed – passion.
“We would never do it, because we felt like it was a hard thing to get the feel for,” Hubber said of previous film offers presented to him and other Hood To Coast organizers. “But this guy had done it and he was passionate.”
In order “to do” the Hood To Coast Relay, teams, made of 12 people and two vans, must commit themselves to run 197 miles in a continuous two-day period. The relay race begins at the base of Mount Hood and routes its way to seaside Oregon. With 36 exchange points, each runner is guaranteed to run three legs. Distances for each leg are anywhere from three to eight miles.
Fifteen thousand runners took part in the race last year, which is held the last week in August. Teams from all 50 states are represented and as many as 45 out of country teams at one time have participated. The race includes Olympian runners and amateurs.
Hood to Coast Relay is a for-profit organization but uses its platform as a way to raise funds for non-profit groups. Last year, through team fees and business sponsorships, Hood To Coast Relay raised $500,000 for the American Cancer Society.
Hubber, who has been with Hood To Coast for four years, explained experienced teams can run the relay race in about 17 hours, while slower teams generally complete it within 36 hours.
But the race is about much more than running.
“It was seriously the funniest thing I’ve ever done,” Hubber said recalling his own personal experience with the race in 2006. He decided to take on “the mother of all relay races” just one year after being diagnosed with multiple sclerosis. It was a challenge that proved emotional.
“I think finishing something that I didn’t think I would ever do was a pretty good feeling,” Hubber shared. “It gave me a change of perspective. Oh, wow, if you can run in the middle of the night doing this, you can do anything.”
That was the emotional sentiment Hood To Coast organizers wanted to stay true to and it was something filmmaker Baaden had experienced on his own while running the relay race in 2007.
Filling in for an injured family member competing in the race, Baaden, an inexperienced runner, said his initial reaction to the race was anything but positive.
“That looks horrible on paper,” Baaden recalled thinking. “Why would anyone do that?”
But Baaden fell in love with the experience while running in the race. From the beautiful scenery to the individual stories of why runners take on the Hood To Coast Relay, Baaden knew within days of completing the race, it was a story that needed to be told on film.
The 101-minute feature length documentary, which will debut January 11 in 362 theaters nationwide, focuses on four teams – the dead jocks, an experienced group of runners with the motto, “don’t jog, run,” the rookies, a group of animators from Portland with the ‘train as little possible’ mentality, the family, who is running after a recent death of a son and the survivor, which highlights the story of a woman returning to the race after suffering a heart attack the year before while competing in the Hood To Coast Relay.
“There’s some really fantastic human interest stories,” Baaden said of the movie.
Hubber, who has also seen an early version of the film agreed.
It depicts the “woodstock on wheels” feel of the race Hubber said.
Although the film will debut in only one Montana theater in Bozeman on January 11, it is scheduled to be released in later showings in Missoula as well. Hubber said requests online for the film at www.hoodtocoastmovie.com may encourage local theaters to show the Hood To Coast movie. Excerpts of the movie can also be viewed online.
As a Terry native and 2000 graduate of Terry High School, Hubber noted it’s a film that runners and non-runners can relate to.
“It’s got a down-to-earth feel to it,” Hubber said.
For Baaden, who has been in the documentary film industry since 1998, the film is a depiction of the beauty of Portland and the human spirit.
“This, was for me, a loving look at runners,” Baaden said. “It’s a sports themed show, but ultimately it’s about the people.”
Published January 5, 2011