Expertly constructed, impressively lensed and surprisingly entertaining, “Hood to Coast” follows the titular 197-mile relay race, the largest in the world, with 1,000 teams of 12 runners each. More communal than competitive (“like Woodstock moving down a road”), the grueling 24-hour event, stretching from atop Oregon’s Mt. Hood to the distant sea, draws athletes and deadbeats of all ages and persuasions. Pic, which enjoyed a one-night-only nationwide preem in January, opens July 15 at Brooklyn’s Indiescreen, a treat for the sports-minded and sports-phobic alike.
Helmer Christoph Baaden deftly intercuts among four very diverse teams. Aging members of “Dead Jocks in a Box” use humor and water cannons to mitigate the pain of losing their edge. Team “R. Bowe” consists of loved ones of a sprinter who died at age 30, just weeks before last year’s race. “Thunder N’ Laikaning” is composed of out-of-shape animators who view their adventurous lark with considerable trepidation. And a mere 12 months after suffering a massive heart attack on the course, 67-year-old Kathy Ryan returns, liberally interpreting her doctors’ advice by running with a wrist-strapped heart monitor and a “Hearts and Soles” teammate alongside her.