Penguins running strong for 30 years

Clark HTC team

Clark’s 30th Hood to Coast relay team looks fresh and ready for the challenge at the beginning of the race.

For the 30th straight year, a hardy team of Clark College Penguins banded together to run the annual Hood to Coast relay race, a grueling 199-mile course that starts at Timberline Lodge on the slopes of Mount Hood, goes through the Portland metropolitan area and over the Oregon Coast Range, and finishes on the beach of Seaside, Oregon.

The race traditionally occurs the Friday and Saturday of the weekend prior to Labor Day weekend. Slightly more than 1,000 twelve-person teams participate in the relay. Clark’s team is one of the longest-standing teams in the race’s 35-year history. Because Clark has fielded a team for more than 20 years, it has a lifetime guaranteed entry as long as it continues to field a team, thereby avoiding the highly competitive lottery entry system that other teams have to use.

HTC team

Tired but triumphant, Clark’s 30th annual Hood to Coast team poses at the finish line.

“Temperatures in the mid-90s on Friday August 26th made the running difficult,” reports team co-captain and Vice President of Instruction Dr. Tim Cook. “Once the sun went down, the night runs down Highway 30 into the Coast Range were full of stars and perfect running weather. The team finished in Seaside about 5:00 p.m. after starting approximately 34 hours earlier on Mt. Hood. It was 199 hours of smelly vans, little sleep and lots of Penguin camaraderie!”

This year’s team included: Tim Cook, Instruction; Kushlani de Soyza, Women’s Studies faculty; Lizette Drennan, Financial Aid; Kael Godwin, Planning and Effectiveness; Haley Gordon, Event Services; Chris Jacob, Athletics; Darcy Kennedy, Chemistry faculty; Kim Marshel, Credentials; Joe Pitkin, English faculty; Paul Raines, Facilities Services; Jenny Walsh (volunteer); Vanessa Watkins, Enrollment Services. The team is supported by generous donations made through the Clark College Foundation.

HTC 2005 team

More HTC history: The 2005 team poses at the end of the Hood to Coast relay race.

For Clark history buffs, here’s the lineup for the original 1987 HTC team, which comprised mostly science faculty, as well as then-Athletic Director Roger Daniels: Dave Allen; Dean and Berna Deanne Blackburn; Wayne and Susan Colony; Roger Daniels; Mike Greenwood; Bob MacKay; John Martin; and Mike and Carol Pick. At the time, the race finished in Pacific City, had 11 runners, and just 186 teams.

Interested in joining the 2017 team? These persevering Penguins are looking for at least one more runner, as well as volunteers to help with driving and supporting the team. Find out more at this year’s kickoff meeting on Thursday, September 29 at 2 p.m. in JSH 127.