If you haven’t heard, Ragnar Relay is coming to PA in June! It’s a 200 mile run with your closest friends from Lancaster to the Pocono’s and CFU is putting together a team to represent in this crazy amazing event!
For more information, come to our Ragnar 101 session on January 27th. RSVP at the Facebook Event and change your “interested” to “Going!”
In the meantime, we had the opportunity to catch up with Phil, our resident Ragnar Expert, who has participated in not one but TWO of these types of races to pick his brain on the what, the how and of course, the why.
In your words, how would you describe a Ragnar Relay? What’s it like, what’s the point, what’s the end game, etc:
The official explanation is that a Ragnar is a “200-ish” mile relay race with 12 people, but really it’s a weekend-long event. You’ve got two vans of 6 people who run alternating legs (Van 1 then Van 2 three total times each). When you’re running you’re focusing on that but when you’re not you’re really just spending time hanging out with the other folks in your van. It’s an amazing bonding opportunity and I still keep in touch with people I met at my first Ragnar is 2015. You get pretty close when you’re sleeping in a field next to a van in rural Maryland with 5 other people. Like any other race the goal is to finish as fast as possible, but nobody’s tracking times or pace. At the last Ragnar I did (DC in Sept ’17) the pace for my first leg was about 7:00 but the pace for my third leg was over 10. Nobody cares how fast you’re running except you 🙂
What made you want to sign up for 200+ miles of running?
I signed up in 2015 on a whim because I had a chance to do the easiest legs of the entire race (it was something like 6 miles – 5 miles – 2.5 miles). I had never run more than a 5K in my life prior but the volume was very doable. Some of the legs are easier than others!
How did you and your teammates divide up the runs?
Each team gets a captain, and that captain assigns runners legs. They are split up by van and runner, so each runner gets a number 1-12. 1-6 are van 1, 7-12 are van 2, and you simply run in order. So runner 1 will run legs 1, 13, and 25, runner 2 will run 2, 14, and 26, etc.
Officially you can only swap out in the event of an injury, but nobody is checking bib numbers at the exchanges, so there is a bit of wiggle room. But just keep in mind if you’re changing who runs what legs you’re going to be messing with the amount of rest you get!
How do you suggest training, what did you do?
The volume of running is much more difficult than the distance. Definitely make sure you can run at least as far as your longest leg in one shot, but toward the end of training for 2017 I ended up running 5-6 miles in the morning before work, 5-6 again after work, and 5-6 first thing the following morning. This is as close as you can get to the actual timing of the Ragnar.
What advice do you have as far as what to take with you besides the obvious (clothes, shoes, etc). In other words, what do you wish you would have had or VERY glad you did have.
Ragnar does a great job preparing you and telling you what you need to bring. The safety equipment (lights, vests, etc) is mandatory and they make sure you have it when you check in. Bring three times as many socks as you think you’ll need. Your van-mates will appreciate it if you bring some wet wipes, showers are few and far between (but available at a few exchanges).
What makes you want to do this AGAIN?
Aside from being a glutton for punishment? 🙂
It really is a lot of fun. The atmosphere and adrenaline means just about everyone gets at least one PR if you’re tracking that sort of thing. If you’re not, it’s a great opportunity to push yourself physically and mentally, as well as get to know your van-mates even better than you already do!