Top 5 Reason’s to Run a Ragnar Relay….
So, we have all read about Jen’s Ragnar experience. Mine (Lalani) is a little different. I love to run. I have been running most of my life. I have completed 7 Ragnar’s, 1 Trial Ragnar (never again), 5 half marathons and 1 full marathon (which I needs a redo of because I was super sick). I have never been that concerned about my times or overly aggressive in my training. I mostly just love to run, be outside, with my friends and I really love the environment of races. Here are my Top 5 Reasons to do Ragnar.
1. Ragnar Relay’s are really FUN
Ragnar started in Utah about 10 years ago. The founders decided to put together a running relay race where teams of 12 people collectively run approximately 200 miles over 36 hours. Sounds fun right? Well it really is. Ragnar does it right. The organization has created such a fun, safe environment for seasoned runners and first timers to participate on the same course at their own pace.
It is not uncommon to see teams of men dressed in gold spandex and wig run next to women dressed as Xena Warrior Princesses. There are also normal teams of people in regular running clothes too. We have done all women’s teams, ran as couples and then ran as a mixed team. One year a bunch of my friends from high school came in from across the country and we ran in the town we went to high school in. It was super fun.
Ragnar went from one race in Utah to locations across and dates across the country. I really suggest finding one near your home town or a destination that you have always wanted to travel to. Sign up and find some friends. You will have the best time.
2. Location, Location, Location
The original Ragnar ( which was my first one) is called Wasatch Back. This is due to its location on the back side of the Wasatch Mountains in Utah. It is SO beautiful. You run from Logan to Park City and snake through these tiny towns and beautiful mountains passes. There is really nothing like running 8 miles at 2am in the morning with a full moon, a crystal clear sky and beautiful mountains all around you.
Ragnar now has races in Hawaii, Colorado, Napa, Southern California, Las Vegas, and the list goes on. I have done Utah twice, Phoenix once, Las Vegas twice, and Southern California twice. I also did the McDowell Mountain Trail Ragnar. Of all of these; Utah and SoCal are my favorite. I really would like to do one that is far from home. It makes running really interesting when you are seeing a new stretch of road for the first time.
3. The Environment
Ragnar does one thing better than any other race that I’ve run; that is it creates a great environment to be a part of. When teams check in the night before the race, there is always an expo. You get your shirts, bib numbers,Van Stickers and a bag of goodies (temporary tattoos, goo, clif bars etc.). You then have to attend a mandatory safety meeting, check out your flags, running vests and head lamps. There is always entertainment and a fun vibe at the expo.
Ragnar stagers teams starts based on their speed. What this means is that if the 12 people on your team are slow runners you will start early on race day to give you the maximum amount of time to finish. If your team is collectively fast then you will start later in the day to insure you don’t get ahead of the race its self. Its a complicated process to get 400 teams (appr0x) of 12 runners each down the road in a safe, organized way. They are really good at it.
You generally will start to recognize the teams that are running around the same pace as you. We always make friends with other teams and see them at the pit stops. The pit stops are also really fun places with a communal vibes. Everyone is always super friendly and supportive. You get to support your runners and other teams over the length of the course. It is really cool to see people who you know are having a hard time push through and accomplish something they never thought they could.
4. The Challenge
Ragnar Relay’s are just that; a Relay. They are really fun, but they are also work. Sometimes, work is hard. Every Ragnar I have done, I have wanted to quit at least once. The courses are challenging. Some are harder than others based on elevation, incline or weather.
Every person on a regular team is running between 10-21 miles divided over 3 legs. You could have one leg that is 6 miles with lots of hills or 8 miles of flat beautiful running. You will choose your legs before the race, so you will know what you are going to run and be able to train.
Also, since you run 3 times over the course of the race, you will run at different times of the day. You will run at least once at night. I love the night runs. Even 2 am in the morning. I always get my best times on those legs. It is also quiet, peaceful and always so beautiful. You also get a little shot of adrenaline being alone on a road in the middle of the night. The schedule of running around the clock is a challenge, but it is also a testament to what the human body can do. It’s pretty cool.
5. The Accomplishment
Completing a Ragnar Relay is more than just finishing a race. You have done something that most people haven’t done and tested your body in ways that it hasn’t been tested before. The camaraderie that you have built with your team is special and something that people who haven’t experienced it can’t understand.
You will leave Ragnar feeling stronger, confident, tired, sore and happy.
Make sure you have a good diner, hot shower and comfy bed on hand for after the race…you will want it.
To read all about Jen’s Ragnar experience click here.