I’ve never participated in a Ragnar race prior to this. Mainly because I don’t hang out socially with a lot of people and partly because I didn’t want to pay the costs.
This year, my company, HRN Performance Solutions, decided to sponsor a Ragnar team for teambuilding and wellness initiative reasons. We had quite a few employees in Michigan, Kansas and Utah agree to participate. Months later – some participants had left the company, some had family events they couldn’t miss, some were injured, etc. That left us with one employee running on our 12 person team. Once my doctor gave me the go ahead, I joined the team again, so we now had one employee in each six person van.
After a shout out on Facebook, my van filled out. In addition to myself, and my boss/friend Michele Lindsay (acting as driver), we had an ultrarunning friend (Carol Harlow), a coworkers son (Rusty Hendrycks) and three of my nephews (Jon, Jeff and Scott Miles) in our van.
Michele and I both had a stressful month and we just wanted it to be over. At that point in time I was not really expecting to enjoy Ragnar at all.
Race day came. I drove Michele’s Durango for the day until she joined us at Sundance in the evening. We had a 9:30 start time and packed up early and got on the road.
Race time – We were in the Thursday/Friday race and started at 9:30 Thursday morning. 20 of us went off at gun time and I was left in their dust within a couple of minutes. Lots of uphill until I hit the BST in Logan and then I got to run the BST over until it passed Logan Canyon and then ran on the road. I was pretty well alone the entire race, but was glad when my van met me twice to cheer me on and give me new water. First leg went well and I pushed myself to run more than I had since the injury.
Throughout our first legs, we were pretty well alone. Made for long, lonely runs but it was nice to see the van pull together and cheer each other on and worry about each other in the heat.
After turning the running over to Van 2 – we headed up to Snowbasin to recover before our next legs. Michele and Paul and Kristy Hendrycks showed up right before I started leg 13. Leg 13 involved a run (okay – be honest – a walk) up a ski hill and then over to Snowbasin Road and then down Trapper’s Loop. Much of this was in the dark but I had selected my position because I loved running this downhill in training. Other than the uphills, I was actually able to run most of the downhill. I felt slow but strong. The foot was holding up.
Day 2 left me with a 5 mile run where I was actually able to pass several people that had gone off to fast on day 1 and were walking their sections.
Overall – our team did well and finished in the top 3rd. We were all hot and tired but happy.
I’ve heard several ultrarunners “dis” on Ragnar and make fun of it. I’m kind of disappointed reading that. I think Ragnar has the following benefits:
- Team building – it was very effective in helping us all support each other and cheer each other on.
- Getting people running – I think a lot of people run Ragnar because of the social aspects. To me – anything that gets people up and moving and active is beneficial.
- Challenging yourself – I pushed myself so that my team would do better overall. Sometimes in a race alone, I just want to finish and don’t push harder than I need to. As a result of Ragnar – I am now able to run for several miles without needing a walking break.
I still think Ragnar is too expensive considering they mainly organize the exchanges and provide water if needed. But I don’t regret participating and enjoyed myself thoroughly.