What do you get when you cross 15,000 runners, 2,500 vehicles and 200 miles of grueling road running? Well, you get the Hood to Coast Relay, the largest relay race in the world. Hood to what, I hear you say…Well, the Hood to Coast is often called “The Mother of All Relays” and for good reason. Beginning at an elevation of 6,000 feet on Mt. Hood, Oregon’s highest peak, and ending 200 miles later at the town of Seaside on the Pacific coast, it is a true test of stamina, willpower and teamwork.

For the third year in a row, the Biamp team, RUN-DSP, was fortunate enough to be accepted into this unique Northwest event. RUN-DSP is an inspired name which was suggested by team member and 80’s hip hop fan, Paul Jaussi. DSP, of course, is something that is central to everything we do at Biamp.

The planning for the event begins early in the year and there is a lot to organize. We need volunteers, vehicles, supplies and of course 12 willing runners. As the final few weeks arrive the preparations for the event are finalized, vans are stocked with supplies and we get our official start time. After our customary team pizza dinner a few days before we are ready for the big day.

This year the race started for us before dawn on that cold and blustery mountain top, with rain clouds all around. Over the next 28 hours we would experience some of the most beautiful landscape that Oregon has to offer from the mountains to the Willamette Valley, through downtown Portland and then overnight on the winding back roads out to the Pacific Ocean.

One of the things that make finishing the Hood to Coast so special is that you cannot achieve it alone, yes there are personal goals, but you must work with and trust your teammates to make it a success. Trust me, when you are running through back roads at 3 am with only a headlamp as a guide, you need that support!

Regardless of whether you are a competitive team or just in it to finish, it’s always amazing to me how all teams encourage each other at the side of the road, offering cheers of support, water and the occasional sugary treat.

The race can be tough but the event has more than its fair share of funny sights; elaborate van decorations, imaginative team names and runner costumes, who can forget the Top Gun team? How they finished the race in flight suits I’ll never know.

Finally reaching the beach and being able to dip our toes in the cool Pacific waters was so memorable and makes me and the rest of the team very proud to have been a part of the race again.

None of this could be possible without the help of so many others besides the runners. Huge thanks must go to our volunteers, Paula Linn, Kerry White and Andy McLennan, as well as the many family and friends who offered their homes, vehicles and support for the team. Biamp and RUN-DSP cannot thank you enough.

The members of Biamp's 2011 Hood-to-Coast team

The members of Biamp's 2011 Hood-to-Coast team

Why would anyone want to do this you might ask?

At Biamp, we aren’t content to be a passive member of the community. Our company is very active in the local community, whether it’s our business partnerships or philanthropic efforts – we are a company that has a great deal of respect for Beaverton and the state of Oregon.

Hood to Coast is just one way we connect with the community that’s around us and contributes to a unique culture that you can’t find anywhere else in the world, and what makes us, Biamp, so unique. And, in addition to making this great event stronger and serving as state ambassadors to the visitors we meet, this is also a chance to highlight the strong bond that runs throughout our company, one that can’t be broken over 200 miles or by 30 hours of straight running. That’s something we’re proud of and proud to participate alongside other like-minded individuals.

In the days and weeks following the Relay, nearly everyone in the office has stopped by to ask about the experience. Their support and encouragement in the time leading up to the race meant so much to RUN-DSP, and I take the time to take each person the race and cross that finish line with them all over again. It’s this sense of teamwork and camaraderie that runs through the entire company and in many of the other community projects with which we’ve involved.

So how about you – any good running stories? How do you or your company get involved in your local community?

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