Ragnar Relay 2011

by Ada on May 15, 2011

Ragnar Relay. 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.

Finish line:

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!!!


{ 19 comments… read them below or add one }

Suboxone Doctors May 15, 2011 at 5:15 pm

That is one heck of a road trip with 12 people, I would probably try to sleep the entire way


Emily May 15, 2011 at 5:29 pm

That looks like it was an amazing experience! Way to go girl!! :)


Gabriela @ Une Vie Saine May 15, 2011 at 6:28 pm

That looks like such a neat experiences!! I’ve always thought relay races would be so fun. Enjoy some sleep now!


Jess May 15, 2011 at 11:48 pm

OH WOW!! That’s SOOO hardcore, yet FUN! Love all the race eats, too :D


Eleah May 16, 2011 at 12:14 am

That sounds like bliss!


Megan (The Runner's Kitchen) May 16, 2011 at 2:55 am

I had a really thoughtful and awesome comment, but then I saw that photo of the sticky bun and completely forget everything…

Hehe, but seriously – congrats! Your relay experience sounds awesome. I’m doing one this summer and am equal parts excited and nervous. Eeek!


sofia May 16, 2011 at 3:41 am

this looks like such a fun weekend! i lvoe the camaraderie of the whole experience – it must really bring a group together, even if you don’t know them in the beginning!

and thanks for the kind words on my blog :) i’d love to give hospital social work a try! we’ll see where i end up working…


Natalie @ cinnamon bums May 16, 2011 at 5:19 am

what a crazy fun experience!!!! that’s so cool, ive never heard of anything like it!!


alyssa - fashion fitness foodie May 16, 2011 at 11:38 am

I def see a NYC meet up in our future :)

That looks awesome! What an amazing experience…and hellllloooo to that sticky bun!?


Megan@eatmybeets May 16, 2011 at 11:45 am

So glad you found my site (so that I could find yours)! This race looks amazing! And so much fun! I don’t know that I can run such distances as of yet. Were there any shorter legs?


Ada May 16, 2011 at 11:52 am

Yeh, there definitely were shorter legs! The most some people did was 3 miles, there was definitely a wide range in distances. My other friend though had to run 8 miles three times, now that was rough!


Hannah May 16, 2011 at 12:15 pm

Holy moly, I can’t even conceive of completing something like this! I can, however, conceive of eating that butterscotch ice cream :D


Erica May 16, 2011 at 1:05 pm

oh my goodness! What an experience! Way to make it through. Running in the dark scares me too- I can’t imagine doing it at such an off hour. Your team sounds like a blast :)


Kelsey @ Snacking Squirrel May 16, 2011 at 2:16 pm

i remember when my mom would buy those wafers (im not sure if they were the same brand but they were very similar) i loved those chocolates! omg and sticky buns!! <3

and YES your van looked THE BEST (i may be biased, but i mean, with a penguin tied to the back, its gotta be the best) hehe


Amy B @ Second City Randomness May 16, 2011 at 7:13 pm

I’ve heard and read so many good things about this race. It looks like fun!

Then next big thing I’d like to do race-wise is a relay. Maybe not a major one like this, but even doing a 4-person marathon relay would be pretty cool.


Noya May 16, 2011 at 10:08 pm

holy moley! I could never run uphill for a straight hour – or even five minutes haha… at least you had a good time and good eats! i love those loaker wafers… and anything from panera


kaila @ healthyhelper blog! May 16, 2011 at 10:17 pm

Wow!! What an accomplishment! It looked really fun to! I would love to do a race like this one day!


momochii May 21, 2011 at 7:45 pm

Do you people have a facebook fan page? I looked for one on twitter but could not discover one, I would really like to become a fan!


kate February 9, 2012 at 3:44 am

sorry for the two comments in like 30 seconds lol..but are you planning on doing a ragnar this year?! i wanna do one so badly but don’t know anyone who would want to get a team together! if you’re interested, we should team up and recruit! haha


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