Ashland High alums enter grueling Hood to Coast relay

Most of the 1,000 teams who enter the 197 mile Hood to Coast relay are just there to finish. For the Rogue Valley based Adidas team, the goal is to win.

"I think we have a chance to win it," said Bob Julian Jr., Ashland High School cross country head coach and team organizer. "I anticipate us getting in the top five and looking at the times that won it last year, I believe we have an outside chance."

Julian Jr. has put together a team of local Rogue Valley runners, most of whom have run at Ashland High or Southern Oregon University, to compete for the top spot in this year's Hood to Coast relay. The relay begins Friday at Timberline Lodge on Mount Hood and ends at Seaside. Julian Jr. expects the team to finish the race in around 18 hours.

"Last year the winning team was averaging 5:07 per mile," Julian Jr. said. "We will be in the low five minute mile pace as a team."

The 12-man team will split the course into five-mile sections with each runner taking on three legs of the race. Two team supplied vans will carry the runners between the different sections of the course.

"You don't sleep," said Jeff Olsen, a member of the team and ex-runner for AHS and SOU. "You run and ride."

"Things get pretty ripe after everyone's first leg," Julian Jr. said. "You all stink together and you all suffer together."

Months ago, when Julian Jr. was first putting the team together, there was doubt to whether or not the group would be able to finance the run. The entry fee is $1,200 per team along with the cost of renting vans, gasoline, food and travel to the northern part of the state.

"We didn't know if we were going to be able to finance it," Julian Jr. said. "Eron Osterhaus works for Adidas. He talked to them and he got us sponsored. Now we have shoes and racing gear. It's great."

Julian Jr. began the team as a tribute to his father, Bob Julian.

"He was the coach at Ashland High for 30 years," Julian Jr. said. "Most of the guys on the team knew him and ran for him. So in a way this is a memorial to him."

The 12-man team will be made up of Julian Jr., Tim Julian, Pete Julian, Darren Goff, Trevor Palmer, David Morgan, J.J. Moses, Jeff Olsen and John Leuthold all of Ashland. Also joining the team from the area are Sean Nesbitt, Eric Griffiths and Eron Osterhaus.

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