One of my co-workers had put together a team for Ragnar Vegas so that they could get the Saints and Sinners medal. This is a medal you get for running Wasatch Back and Vegas in the same year. At the last minute they had someone drop out of their team and I agreed to fill-in since running 17 miles with no notice is not that big of a deal for me.
We left early Friday morning to drive down to Las Vegas. We were Van 2 – so had a while to get down there after Van 1 started. Once again – they had out team starting out fairly late in the day.
Ragnar Vegas is an okay race. The best thing about it was that the temperatures were nice so we didn’t have to hydrate constantly or freeze at night.
I was runner 11, so the next to the last runner each time. Because Las Vegas is on the far eastern side of the Pacific Time Zone – it was dark shortly after 4 p.m. each day. This meant that most of our runs were in the dark.
Leg one – 5.4 miles. Three miles of wonderful downhill followed by two miles of uphill. I was able to cut off quite a bit of time on the downhill and didn’t lose a lot of it on the uphill (other than the long breaks at stoplights). I could hear my team saying, “Hey! There goes Maurine!” as I ran into the transition area and I reached the transition before runner 12. Lots of concrete on this run, but a nice wide sidewalk with lots of lighting.
Leg two – 3.9 miles. Leg two started at a casino and ran across the parking lot and then across the freeway. I ended up doing at least one mile of this run in a creepy warehouse area with very poor lighting, so was glad to have it done. Once again – those stupid stoplights added to my time.
I was so thrilled to sleep for a couple of hours on a football field until after daylight. My legs were not happy after being bent all day from sitting in the car.
Leg three – 7.7 miles. This leg was in the heat of the day and near Lake Mead. It was also in daylight so I enjoyed that a lot. Probably the prettiest part of the run for our van. The maps did not give a good estimate on this leg because it was a lot more uphill than we had imagined. I pushed hard and cut off about 15-20 minutes from our estimated time. Between heat and pushing, I was still breathing hard a good 20 minutes later. I think this led to some stomach upset at the finish, but recovered once I got some antacid in me.
At the finish line we were handed a pack of medals for each van. Then we went up and got our Saints to Sinners medal. We were all starving and our dinner that night was so delicious!
In comparing Ragnar Wasatch Back with Ragnar Vegas – Wasatch Back wins hands down. Things I didn’t like about the Vegas run:
- Stoplights – I got stopped at so many stoplights and often they were 2 or more minutes before I was allowed to continue. While this gave me some quick recovery – it was frustrating to lose all that time and a good pace.
- Back and Forth – In Vegas you are running out and backs and covering the same territory as previous legs or nearby. We got tired of the same area and having to loop around in the chutes instead of handing off the baton and running on.
- Organization – much less organized in Vegas. At the start line everyone had to pick up their own shirt. There were no safety pins until just a couple of minutes before our first runner went out and we were only given two apiece. At the finish line, no real ceremony. You just crossed the line and they handed you the packs of medals – didn’t even put them around your neck. And finding where to go at different exchanges in the dark was frustrating.
- Directions – the directions in the RagMag were pretty bad. The van drivers pretty well had to rely on GPS to find the next location. Too often it said, “follow the runner”. Yeah – that doesn’t work when the runner has headed off on a trail. And some of the legs did not list that they were on unpaved trail which made it difficult for the runners.
All in all I was glad to experience a new race. However, I will not do this one again. The van team was fun to hang with, but I was disappointed in the overall race.