. 200 miles. Two vans. Twelve people. One heck of a good, albeit challenging, time.
Last year my friend Gustavo asked if I’d be interested in joining his van for the relay. I immediately said yes, without fully comprehending the expedition’s details. Little did I know that the race involved over 24 hours in a van and three separate legs of running
Friday morning I packed up some snacks before heading on campus to meet Gustavo. We loaded up the van and then headed into Westchester to pick up our remaining teammates.
Other than Gustavo, I did not know the other four members of our van. Everyone turned out to be super nice and awesome though!
The first leg of the relay began in Woodstock, but since we were in van two we began a bit further south. I could not believe that over 200 vans participated in the relay. Who knew so many crazy people existed?
Some teams got super intense with their van decorations
I still think our van looked the best, though:) Our team name was The Tramps. I, embarrassingly, presumed the origin of our name to be from Lady and the Tramp when actually it arises from a famed Bruce Springsteen song.
Gustavo kicked off our van’s relay with a SUPER challenging 8-miler that spanned over numerous hills
I went a little bit later and ran a 7-miler through the country. There were even actual cows along the route!
Our van had such amazing team spirit, and we would always pull off to the side of the road to cheer for whatever member was running and write motivational chalk notes
After my run I quickly grabbed an ice cream cone from this adorable little shop before hopping back into the van
And you can even multi-task and buy Christian gifts while purchasing ice cream. Who knew?
After much deliberation I ultimately selected the butterscotch swirl (for only $1.50!!!!).
Oh baby. Best. Soft. Serve. Ever.
I loved being out in the wilderness and could not believe I was running next to such gorgeous lakes and scenery.
While we waited for van members to complete his or her leg, we also played loads of frisbee. Frisbee can seriously keep me entertained for hours.
Our van finally finished all of our legs around 11pm and we handed off to van #1. While van #1 completed leg number two, we had a five hour break and headed to New Paltz for some dinner.
We split some chips and guacamole
I selected the veggie burger topped with guacamole, which I immediately scarfed down.
After our feast we headed to the exchange area to try and get some rest. I could only sleep from 1:00am until 1:30am before it was time for leg #2 of the relay. Gustavo ran first and had to complete 8 miles in pitch darkness.
Around 3:30am it was finally my turn to run. I only had to run 4.5miles this time, a huge relief since running in pitch darkness is rather terrifying. There was no one on the roads. No fellow runners. Minimal cars. No street lights. Pitch darkness. I was convinced a bear was going to pop out and attack me and, at one point, a coyote jumped out and scared me to death! Luckily the menacing critter sprinted across the street, leaving me unperturbed. We also had to wear headlights, which offered some degree of visibility.
I survived my pitch-dark solo run and then met up with the van at the exchange point. A few more van members ran and before we knew it the sun was already rising! Check out all these people sleeping around 6am
At the final exchange point of leg number 2, we were lucky to discover a Panera Bread. I opted for the uber healthy choice of a chocolate chip bagel. Ok, so maybe not the healthiest choice, but I needed a large influx of calories.
Other teammates selected a pecan sticky bun
and a french toast bagel with a four cheese tart.Oh, Panera. Thank you for providing delicious baked goods. And for actually providing a real bathroom.
We then had some time to kill before leg #3, so we stretched it out a bit and played some more frisbee.
Leg number three was by far my hardest leg of the relay. The distance was a reasonable seven miles, but it was practically ALL uphill. Steep uphills. Had this been leg#1 that would be fine, but by leg #3 my sleep-deprived self and sore muscles had a difficult time with this.
I survived the leg, though, and was greeted my warming embraces from my teammates. I must say that this was probably one of the BEST experiences of my entire life. Ragnar really represents running in it’s most pure form. The distances have no mile markers, so you never know what distance you’ve covered. This allows you to just absorb the beautiful scenery, and appreciate running for the sake of running. I also love that I entered the race not knowing four members of the van, and now feel like they’re part of my family. Being in a van for 27 hours and running a combined total of 200 miles might sound crazy, but it was actually the most fun I’ve had in recent memory.
Alrighty, I have been up for almost 48 straight hours and am SUPER exhausted. I’m also quite sad that the relay is over:( I hope everyone is having a great weekend!!!