The mother of all relays

A photo essay of Portland's 29th annual Hood to Coast Relay.

Deemed the longest relay in the world, Portland's 29th annual Hood to Coast Aug. 27-28 spans 197 miles - beginning near the top of Mount Hood and ending on a sandy beach in Seaside. The event sponsored by Office Max has brought teams of runners from each U.S. state, and from over twenty foreign countries.

How does it work? Teams of twelve divide up 36 legs of the race and hand off the baton (a slap wrist band) at specified exchange points. While one teammate runs the race, the others ride ahead in a rented van, often decorated with team names, slogans, and a record of how many 'road kills,' (the name for overtaking an opposing teams' runner), each member has tallied.

There's a lot of humor and camaraderie involved. Teams come up with witty names like 'Strangers in a Strange Van', 'Sole Survivors' or 'Cirque du Sore Legs.'

Click here to see the slideshow.

The teams form a strong bond, working together to get the baton from point A to point B, sticking together The average team takes 28 hours to complete the race.

This year, team 'BAC Men' came in first with a time of 17:24:16, almost an hour faster than second place team, 'Knoxville Track Club.' In 7th place, team 'Google' barely beat out 8th place team, 'The Olympic Club.'

Over 29 years, the Hood to Coast Relay has grown from a small eight-team competition founded by Architect Robert Foote, Jr., to a massive, world-renowned relay that requires 3,500 volunteers to make the race possible. The race has gained so much popularity that a documentary on the event titled "Hood to Coast" has recently been featured at film festivals, and will premiere in theaters across the country in January 2011.