In less than a week, the Sandy Hooters will be off to the races. Most specifically: Hood to Coast.
Hood to Coast is a 199-mile relay from Timberline Lodge on Mount Hood to Seaside. More than 1,000 teams compete each year, this year beginning on Friday, Aug. 25.
The local team is comprised of members and staff from Mt. Hood Athletic Club, and five of the 12 runners have made competing in the well-known relay a tradition for the last five years.
Alesia Soll, fitness director for the club, is one of those five, and the team's self-chosen captain.
"I think one of the things I like about it is it's local," Soll said. "We take pride in that the first major legs are through Sandy."
Loll grew up in Sandy, watching participants in Hood to Coast run through town, and thinking she'd never get to experience the race herself.
Now, for Soll, the relay is the biggest running event of the year for her — "It's the one we most look forward to because it's the end of summer."
"I think the thing I look forward to is being in the van with five other people," she added. "I think the reason people like relays is running has always been this individual sport, but relays make it a team (effort). There are five other people cheering you on, and you get to cheer them on when they run."
After every race, the Sandy Hooters celebrate the competition with a 13th leg party.
This year, the club, which sponsors the team, has rented a house in Seaside and welcomes the runners across the finish line and into bonfire festivities.
"It's kind of like the 12th man," Soll explained. "We try to make it as fun as possible."
This year's team includes:
Daniel Hoffman, Jayme Wantowski, Cari Nguyen, Sandra Venegas, Elaine Knipe, Alesia Soll, Kalyn Wallce, Kim Kultala, Hilarie Schlicker, Melanie Oeck, Trevor Hayward, Rosemary Lowery
Mt. Hood Athletic Club, EverFresh Fruit Co., Suburban Auto Group