August 22, 2014, was a different kind of workday for a team of seven from Hall Prangle & Schoonveld, LLC. Today, their morning commute would find them in a van driving up Oregon’s Mount Hood with a team of colleagues in tow and former Managing Partner Eric Schoonveld behind the wheel, both literally and figuratively. Instead of laptops, files, and conference calls, this project demanded trail mix, energy bars and Gatorade. Along with six other members (and future friends), this team would be running a total of 198 miles. And they would do it in under 30 hours.
And here’s why… August 22nd marked the 33rd annual Hood to Coast relay race, where 198 miles separate the starting line at Oregon’s Mount Hood from the finish line in the city of Seaside, along Oregon’s coast. Teams of 12 runners in two vans take turns running six-mile legs of the race throughout the day and night, with each team member running 16-18 miles over the course of the relay.
More than that, this was an opportunity for the firm to put one of their driving principles into action – making an impact in a broader community and doing it as a team. So HPS joined forces with World Vision, whose mission is to create a better world for children by transforming their communities. Together, the money raised by HPS’s relay team would provide individuals in the Sudan access to clean water. And so Team Torit was born, made up of HPS attorney/runners Ronitha Maharaj, TC Hosna, Tom Comstock, Brian Hendricks, Matt McElligott and paralegal Laura Arendsen, with Eric Schoonveld serving as the team’s logistical coordinator and van driver.
At 10:00am on August 22nd, their journey began. Over the next 30 hours HPS runners would log 99 miles, and a combined 12 hours of running time. After 36 baton handoffs, 90 minutes of pseudo-sleep, and plenty of cashews (a van favorite) their team crossed the finish line at around noon on Saturday morning. World Vision provided additional support in the form of honorary team captains, including: Olympians Lopez Lomong and Ashton Eaton, 50k World Record Holder Josh Cox, Runners World author Jenny Hadfield, triathlete Alan Webb and Zach Gingerich. These members of the professional running community accompanied teams on van rides, sharing stories and wisdom to keep the World Vision runners focused, inspired and moving.
At the end of the day, and through the generous donations of HPS’s community of clients, colleagues, firm vendors, opposing counsel, family and friends, Team Torit raised a total of $40,049. These contributions, along with the determination of the team’s runners mean 800 individuals living in the Sudan will now have access to clean water. For those of us who have never had to walk farther than the nearest faucet to access clean water, it’s difficult to imagine the economic impact; but for those who face this struggle daily, the effect is profound.
With this purpose in mind, and a growing team roster for the 2015 relay, HPS is already looking ahead to their next sleepless night.