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