Again this year, the epic run passed through Inner Southeast -- but there was an odd incident west of town

DAVID F. ASHTON - Across from Oaks Amusement Park along the Springwater Trail, Woodstock resident Amy Win and her new friend Spencer Malone handed out water to passing runners. The Springwater Trail was crowded on the afternoon and in the evening of Friday, August 25, as 12,000 participants sprinted, ran, and jogged along the course of this year's "Hood to Coast" relay race.

Runners came in to Inner Southeast Portland along Leg #11, from Lents to S.E. Johnson Creek Boulevard, at which they handed off to runners who set off on Leg #12, taking them across S.E. McLoughlin Boulevard, through Sellwood and past Oaks Bottom, as they headed toward Downtown Portland.

At the "exchange point", runners – looking exhausted as they entered Tideman Johnson Park in Ardenwald – handed off numbered wristbands to the next jogger, during this, the 36th running of the epic race.

"This year, participants from all 50 states and about 43 different countries will compete on 1,050 teams, in the now-199-mile event," smiled founder and organizer Bob Foote.

While at the Tideman Johnson Park exchange point, runners from Beijing were surrounded by a crew from China Central Television (CCTV) who were documenting their journey.

No mishaps occurred on the Inner Southeast portion of the race – although there was a bizarre and unprecedented sideshow early the next morning west of Portland, when a 36-year-old Hood to Coast runner was arrested following the theft of a vehicle, at one of the race's exchanges in Columbia County.

On August 26, at about 2 a.m., a runner that race participants identified as David Jon Blackmon of Bend, was involved in the theft of a pickup truck belonging to a portable restroom company that was servicing its portable units at Exchange 24 in the Birkenfeld area.

Witnesses said Blackmon drove the stolen pickup through a nearby field where runners were resting. Three of the resting runners were able to jump out of the way, but one (Cynthia Gillespie, of Canby) was not able to do so and was run over and dragged a short distance before the truck stopped, resting on her leg. She was not, apparently, seriously injured, however.

The original driver of the pickup confronted Blackmon after chasing the vehicle down. Blackmon reportedly then ran into the woods nearby, fleeing the scene. A K9 located him nearby, and he was lodged in the Columbia County Jail on charges of Assault-Second Degree, Reckless Driving, Reckless Endangering, Driving while Revoked, Unauthorized Use of a Motor Vehicle, Unauthorized Entry into a Motor Vehicle, and Possession of a Stolen Vehicle.

The sideshow then over, the race went on in the early morning darkness, heading toward its final destination in Seaside on the coast.

Contract Publishing

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