Ragnar Recap

Ragnar Great River Relay

If you aren’t familiar with the Ragnar Relay it is a relay race that takes place in several locations around the county including one here in the Twin Cities. The Ragnar Relay Great River consists of about 300 teams of twelve. Each team is divided into two vans of six, and each van alternates running a stretch of the race to cover the 196 miles from Winona to the Twin Cities. Each person ends up running three legs. The relay is non-stop and lasts approximately 24 hours depending on the speed of your runners.

This year was my first experience participating in this type of event and I’m hooked. I was runner eight. My first leg was around 3:30pm on a hot, muggy, August the 19th. It consisted of two monster hills which kicked my butt. I managed to average an 8 min/mi pace, but it took everything I had. The following is the elevation according to my garmin:
Elevation of first leg

My next leg was a bit less hilly and much cooler. It started at about 1:30am and took me on a lonely, woodsy 9.25 mile jaunt. This was my favorite part of the race. I felt good, my pace was fairly consistent, and I was mostly alone. It was a bit eerie though, running through the woods at night. Luckily, no one jumped out at me dressed like bigfoot!
Ragnar at night

My last leg was a six miler that started at about 11:00am. I had slept an hour over the past 30 and hadn’t been eating very well. I was concerned that I would fall apart on this last leg. However, the adrenaline and sunlight carried me through to my best time yet, 7:35 min miles. Granted, the majority of these were down hill.

Our team finished in the middle of the pack and we all had a great time. Despite only grabbing an hour of sleep, living out of a stinky, messy van for a day, and eating nothing but crap, there is no way I won’t be doing this event again next year.

Advice for the next one

This is mostly a note to myself, but if you are thinking about doing this event, here is my advice for next year:

  1. Bring substantial food items like sandwiches or wraps. Eating snack foods for 24 hours gets old quickly.
  2. If I had to over-pack one item it would be fresh underwear.
  3. A tarp would have been nice – it rained for a little while during our down time.
  4. Add more drink variety – we only had water and gatorade.
  5. Keep the van a little more organized from the start.

Here is what our van looked like half way through the race:
Our van


4 Responses to: Ragnar Recap

  1. Rob

    The underwear advice cannot be overstated. My first ragnar as well and I enjoyed 90% of it. Didn’t enjoy the lack of sleep nor the, uh, bodily functions – but the memories of both are fading fast.

  2. Yep. The pain has all but faded from my memory as well.

  3. Mel

    1. Sandwich bread + PB + Banana. Enough said.
    4. If you’re not partial to Gatorade, Propel makes little boxes of packets, you can get a bunch of different flavors and just dump them in your water bottle. More variety, and takes up less space. Problem solved.
    5. Keeping the van organized is mostly a lost cause. The best we ever succeed at is keeping the trash out – bring plastic grocery bags & hang one from the suit hook as the “trash can.”

  4. Joseph Lyons

    Just finished Hood to Coast. Our van was overstocked with food that we wound up not eating much of – though we had a great food break in Portland to have a decent meal on day one, and a similar break on day 2 in the mountains with hamburgers, french toast, biscuits and gravy… The only things we could have had more of were towels and water.

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