The thing you might not expect about the annual 'Hood to Coast' relay is that it also draws some of the world's most unlikely athletes and, quite frankly, folks who have no reason for running in the first place. That picture was the inspiration for the critically-acclaimed sports documentary of the same name, 'Hood to Coast,' which releases in theaters for one night only on Jan. 11, 2011.
The race, which has been going for 30 years, begins at one of Oregon's most revered sights, Mount Hood. Twelve-person teams relay between Mount Hood and Seaside, Ore., distributing the 197 miles between the runners in 36 legs. Between the deep dips in altitude, intense climbs through the wilderness and an urban journey through Portland, the race is a true test of a runner's limits.
Boulder documentarian Marcie Hume, producer and co-director of the 'Hood to Coast' film, says the story of everyday runners taking on the extraordinary feat was a no-brainer story to pursue for both her and co-director Christoph Baaden.
"It's over the top," Hume said, speaking about the race and the film's scope. "From day one, we really wanted to look at the everyday runner who's running this race. That's mostly what this race is. There's some elite people out there that you get passed by in the middle of the night somewhere in Oregon. But it's really just the average runner who decides to push themselves and motivate themselves for whatever reason to do something like this."
Hume described the film's three-year production as "beyond challenging," explaining how the film's audio and camera crews were crammed into the back seat of large, 15-person vans to accomodate for the film's most important stars, the runners. Hume, Baaden and the Film For Thought production team also filmed for several months prior to the race to document four teams' preparations for Hood to Coast. While some athletes were in it to win it, other runners refused to train, choosing to instead live by the rule of "eat pizza and drink beer."
"One [of the stories featured is about] a 69-year-old marathon runner who has run about 75 marathons. She just loves Hood to Coast, loves the sense of community and team bonding, and she'd had a heart attack during the race the year before," Hume said. "We followed her, she was determined to get back and run the race again."
The film will release for one night only on Jan. 11, distributing live via satellite to theaters across the country. The decision, while an unconventional one, will set the film up to rely almost entirely on crowd-sourcing and word of mouth, along with an aggressive trailer effort by the film's event distributor, Fathom Events.
"It is absolutely a thrill to hear people from all walks of life wanting to watch this movie," Hume said. "We're hearing about running groups actually running to the film, and some people are just going for the great stories. I can't wait for people to see it."
To learn more about the film, sign up for running team watch parties, or purchase tickets, click onto www.hoodtocoastmovie.com
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