So what is the Ragnar Relay all about???
Well, if you've been curious too, read what two of our BPY Tri Club teammates, Yari and John, have to say about their experiences running it.
Yari's Ragar Recount:
Running Ragnar is a race that I will always have in my heart. It's a 201-mile running adventure with twelve people. We all were excited not knowing what to expect. The only thing that we knew was that we were all going to be in a car for 24 hours, all sweaty, hungry and away from home.
The experience of running in the middle of nowhere, running on dirt roads, with a couple of cows, knowing that the only thing that was keeping me company was the sky with stars and a full moon. Felt so lonely and terrified, not knowing the road I was running, having the feeling that my team could not be with me because they had to be at least ½ miles away. Being chased by an annoying dog scared the hell out of me. The dog and I fighting while running. Me telling the dog to go away while he barked at me, a stranger running at midnight, running in his territory. I couldn’t wish more for the leg exchange to be close and leave the dog behind. My heart rise and my legs ran faster. I just wanted to get away from that crazy dog. The night was quite and terrifying, but after I got more comfortable, I fell in love with the peace and quiet of a midnight run.
After a long 19 hours, it was time for me and my teammate to get some rest. We knew it was critical for us to get some sleep to perform well in the race. The real adventure started, trying to get some sleep with 5 other people inside the van. Listening to the teammate saying “ THIS IS NOT GOING TO WORK” meaning that she knew she wasn’t able to sleep, but the spirit of doing the race relaxed her. It was so funny, seeing someone sleep on the hood of a car. Getting bitten by mosquitoes, but he didn’t care as long as someone could sleep better.
Ragnar filled me with joy, sharing the customs that we had, the fairy wings, running with them, trying to spray the men color hair spray and they were not happy about it. We just had a great time. We talked about it and we felt like we were a big family. We just loved it. That was Ragnar for me. I am so ready to do it again!
John's Ragnar Relay Recount:
Ragnar sort of snuck up on me. Burnt out from the 6 1/3 triathlons that I had competed in this year, I was sleepwalking towards my next big competition. Lauren Bushika casually mentioned the Ragnar Relay to me while I was selling my old road bike to her. This relay was an interest to me, since I had almost participated in it the previous year. I committed. Not knowing what to expect, I woke up at 4 AM on November 19 and headed to the Publix on Tuskawilla to meet up with my teammates...teammates that I barely knew.
This relay is an experience like none other. There are several ways to run the 201 miles. 12 runners, running 3 times, running anywhere between 8 and 25 total miles. 6 runners, running 3 times (ultra distances)...and then there the 2 freaks (in a good way) who ran the entire 201 miles by themselves...We chose 12 runners. There were 2 vans, with 6 of us in each. One van follows the first group of runners, while the second van did what they needed to do (ate, slept, ate while sleeping, etc.), as long as they were waiting at every sixth exchange point. Once the first van got to that sixth exchange point, the second group of runners had to run their legs while the first van did what they wanted to do.
I cannot speak for everybody else, but to me, the second leg of my race (the night leg) was definitely the most exciting but peaceful portion of the race...except when an unknown black animal ran in front of me. Just knowing that I was at the mercy of the Ragnar signs, which were supposed to be pointing me in the right direction, in the middle of the night, in the middle of po-dunk Florida, was enough to get the heart rate going.
The biggest challenge for me was to get my legs loose after my first two race legs and being awake enough to run my last leg at 6:30 in the morning. Word of advice: Coach's warm up leg drills worked well in this situation.
Overall, I have to rate this as my overall favorite race that I've participated in. It's unique and it brought me closer to a group of people that I barely knew. I believe that if you ask any of my other 11 teammates, they would say the same. I feel like I would be keeping a secret if I didn't encourage anyone to participate in something like this.
Special thanks to Team Lemming Stampede volunteers Doug & Jennifer!