If you know me, you would know that I LOVE everything Ragnar. While I’m still fairly new to the game, it is my latest and greatest addiction. After running my first one in Austin last year, I’ve since applied to be an ambassador, yes I got accepted, ran Ragnar Relay Las Vegas, missed a chance to run Del Sol #TeacherSalaryProbs, and I’m about to captain a team for the Texas race in Luckenbach at the end of March.
Looking back at my first experience, I spent so much time googling reviews to try and get an understanding of how this process works, and most importantly, if I would die.
The hardest part, besides the running, of all of this is finding a team. Ragnar Relay runs a team of 6-12 runners for their road series. Finding a team of 12 is intimidating…it’s hard to think of 11 other people who would be willing to do this with you, and that you actually want to do it with. So I took the easy way out, I posted on the Austin Facebook event page and got picked up by a team who allowed me to bring a +1, that ended up being a +2! Being on a team of experienced people made all the difference, in fact our van was all newbies except for one person, Christine, who later invited me to run Vegas and Del Sol with her… I guess I did something right!
After all that was done I had to actually train and find out more about this right? Reading resources such as the race bible, and checking out course maps was great, but also had me worried when it came to running at night on the back country roads of Texas.
Here’s the deal…maps change, because construction happens and Ragnar puts your safety first. If you see a drastic change, which I did with this upcoming Luckenbach race, move runners around and adapt, it really isn’t a big deal.
With that being said, running the legs was fun, I was worried about the pressure of being fast enough and my team waiting forever for me, I had to let it go and just run my pace and let it be. There’s so much going on that you’re not really concerned with your pace. There’s people yelling at you from windows, cowbells, orange flags waving, cars with unicorns on the top, and at night, beautiful stars to run under. It’s truly a priceless event.
But of course, I did not know this going on and spent most of my time leading up to the race preparing. Buying all the gear, and trying to figure out how to pack. But sometimes in life you just gotta remember KISS, Keep It Simple Stupid.
Packing: I packed every outfit in gallon ziplocks, running clothes also had a shower pill wipe inside, you’re welcome world, and a fabric softener sheet. When my dirty running clothes came off in the bathroom stall, they went in the ziplock. Minimal space, and no odor.
Gear: While you technically don’t need headlamps for every runner, it’s kinda gross to share so I bought a headlamp from Amazon, a reflective vest, and a Blinky light for my back. This was packed in a separate quart sized ziplock, as well as a separate bag for toiletries. I also had an Orange Mud transition towel that I brought so I can freely change anywhere and it also came in handy whenever we did have access to showers.
Ragnar is a lot of fun, and it really is about more than running. You meet the most amazing people while out on the course and they will become some of your favorite people… btw, I met THE IRON COWBOY while at Vegas. No one in my van knew who he was but I spotted him. Granted I wouldn’t have known for sure it was if had Ragnar not posted about him being there… but holy smokes I met him.
Okay… so you want to know how it works…fine, I’ll cover the nitty gritty. Basically, you have a team of 12 and two vans. Van one has runners 1-6, van two 7-12. Your captain assigns everyone a runner number and you run those legs, see image below.
Runner one starts, runs their first legs and meets up with runner two at what is called a minor exchange (due to only one van per team being allowed, and the other van isn’t needed anyways), runner one hands off the slap bracelet to runner two, two goes to three, etc.
Stop the presses! I know what you’re thinking, no the van does not follow behind the runner as they run…can you imagine what the traffic would be like? Once the runner is out, the van drives to the next exchange point to wait for their runner that’s out on the road. Depending on the leg the van may be able to stop and cheer on their runner through their run or provide support, Ragnar will indicate which legs this is allowed on in their leg chart.
Back on track, once the last runner in the van is out, in this case runner six for van one, the van will go to a major exchange where both vans from the team will meet up. Runner six will hand off to runner seven from van 2 and that van will complete the same process. Once their last runner is out, same thing with the major exchange and Van one is back on.
Next question, what do we do when the other van is running? Whatever you want, eat, shop, sleep, take selfies, visit landmarks it’s your break…enjoy it!
This rotation will continue until all the legs are done, for your final runner coming in the team can run through the finish line with them and you all will celebrate this amazing accomplishment and drink beer and eat pizza.
And that my friends, is a Ragnar.
Oh you wanted more??? Well you’re gonna have to wait because this post is already super long and I’ll do more as the date gets closer to Luckenbach…until then… Happy Running Y’all!