Last Updated on September 26, 2019 by Heather Hart, ACSM EP, CSCS
In the running world, there are a ton of trends I’ve been on top of since the very beginning. After all, it is kind of my job in this space: no one wants to read a shoe review of a model that is 2 seasons old (though that hasn’t stopped me from writing those reviews in the past).
But then there are a few things that I’m so painfully far behind on, it’s nearly laughable. Two examples:
1) I still haven’t read “Born to Run” in it’s entirety, and
2) I still haven’t participated in a relay event.
These are both things many of my running friends have been raving about for YEARS, and things that I’ve always kept in the back of my mind, thinking “yeah, I should really read/do that”…but haven’t gotten around to it yet.
I discovered that Ragnar, the executers of what I hear are some mighty fine and fun multi-day point-to-point road relay races, now have a TRAIL series. Outta my way, procrastination, I’ve GOT to do this.
Now, because I’m certain I can’t be the last person on the running world who hasn’t done one yet, let me share a little bit more about what Ragnar events are:
WHAT IS A RAGNAR RELAY?
Ragnar long distance, team, overnight running relays that take place in the most breathtaking places in the world. Teams come together to conquer a course over two days and one night, and push their limits, on little amounts of sleep, with friends and a community of runners by their side. Conquer 200-ish miles of road running with 12 friends and 2 vans during a Ragnar Relay, or camp with 8 friends and conquer a set of gritty trail running loops at a Ragnar Trail.
The idea to run an overnight 24+ hour running relay across the mountains of Utah was a lifelong dream of Steve Hill. The dream became a reality in 2004 when Steve, his son Dan and Dan’s college roommate, Tanner Bell, organized the first Wasatch Back Relay, spanning 188 miles from Logan to Park City, UT. Starting small, the Ragnar Relay Series has grown from a single relay in Utah to the largest overnight relay series in the nation.
Now, the van/road thing does indeed sound fun in its own right (and you can learn more about it HERE). But if you guys have learned anything about me by now, you know that
a) I love to run in the dirt, and
b) sleeping in tents is probably my second most favorite thing in the world…second to running in the dirt.
So while I’d love to participate in a road Ragnar Relay one day, there is no doubt that the Trail series is first on my list.
How does a Ragnar Trail work?
In our Ragnar Trail Relays, teams of 8 (or 4-member ultra teams) run relay-style on three different single track loops that start and finish at Ragnar Village. Teams run day and night until each member has completed all three trail loops.
From Friday to Saturday, each teammate runs all three loops. Runner 1 runs the Green Loop (hard), then Runner 2 runs the Yellow Loop (harder), Runner 3 runs the Red Loop (really freakin’ hard), Runner 4 runs the Green Loop, and so on until every runner has completed the three loops. The total mileage for each runner is close to a half marathon.
Swap vans for tents, pavement for trails and exchange points for Ragnar Village. Add bonfires, s’mores & a festival atmosphere, and Ragnar Trail Relays are a whole new brand of awesome on your running calendar.
Just kidding. Don’t hate us. We’re hill-arious. #RagnarTrailZion fan photo by @vciuow #innerWILD #SalomonRunning #Ragnar #RagnarTrail #TrailBlazing
Dirt? Tents? Running? Friends? You don’t’ have to ask me twice. Count me in.
We’ve assembled a team of our finest Myrtle Beach trail runners (and by finest, I mean a few of the small handful of people around here that are enthusiastic about leaving the pavement and hitting the trails. Plus they are all fun and highly entertaining) and we’ve registered for the 2016 Carolinas Ragnar Trail Relay in Anne Springs Close Greenway.
Meet Team #75: Out of Bounds – Myrtle Beach. I have no idea what the team name means, you’ll have to ask the guy in the bottom right hand corner. But I like it.
I won’t get all sappy on you just yet, but I’m super stoked to spend time literally running in circles with these people. We’ve got new runners, new trail runners, and experienced runners alike. We’ve got new friends, old friends, experienced campers, and people wondering where to find a sleeping bag. But one thing we’ve all got in common is that we love pushing our limits to see what we are truly capable of…all while laughing at ourselves for the ridiculous situations we put ourselves in. Like running in circles for two days straight.
Oh, and we will all be first time Ragnar runners. Ragnarites? Ragner-ers?
You’ll be hearing more about our team and our training over the coming months. But in the meantime, I want to encourage you guys to check out what Ragnar has to offer.
(Or better yet, gather your own team and join us October 8th & 9th at the Carolina Ragnar Trail Relay!)
Whether you prefer sweaty vans or muddy sneakers, with road and trail relays spanning across the country, there certainly is a race for every runner. I’m excited to finally see what a Ragnar Relay experience is all about.
Have you run a Ragnar Relay before?
If not, what is holding you back?
If so, what advice would you give my team?
Heather Hart is an ACSM certified Exercise Physiologist, NSCA Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist (CSCS), UESCA certified Ultrarunning Coach, RRCA certified Running Coach, co-founder of Hart Strength and Endurance Coaching, and creator of this site, Relentless Forward Commotion. She is a mom of two teen boys, and has been running and racing distances of 5K to 100+ miles for over a decade. Heather has been writing and encouraging others to find a love for fitness and movement since 2009.
Sounds like a lot of fun! I’ve never run a Ragnar Relay, but i might just have to travel to a location where they hold one! I’m totally interested!
Yes! Sometimes traveling to the race is half the fun 😉 RACECATION!
Lex @ Flecksoflex
I really enjoyed the bonding aspect of the Ragnar Relay I ran in the DC Area. It was mostly road (some trails).
I’ve been wanting to read that book! I met Chris McDougall a few months back at a conference, and he gave a really incredible lecture and was super interesting. I put it on my list, and procrastinated just like you. :-\
Carmy @ Carmyy.com
I’d love to try Ragnar but I’m worried I might want to murder my friends by the end of it hahahaha. I need my alone time!
A bunch of my friends are doing the Ragnar from Madison to Chicago this weekend. Maybe it’s something I do next year 🙂
Dixya @ Food, Pleasure, and Health
i have never done a relay in my life 🙁
Deborah @ Confessions of a mother runner
I have done 2 Ragnar relays they are a blast. I have not done a trail relay yet-kind of scares me 🙂
Don’t be scared, trails are so fun!
I’ve never entered a Ragnar race. I would if (1) there was one close enough to me and (2) I was trained for it…which I’m not even close. I do love running in dirt and sleeping in tents though.
the ragnars look like run. i have told my runner friends i would be willing to be their driver!
I love Ragnar so much that I became an ambassador! Definitely one of my favorite race series and like nothing else I have ever experienced! So fun!
Oh wow, that’s awesome! Which location has been your favorite so far?
Ragnar Relays sound intense…and fun! One day I’ll have to experience one!
Jill Conyers (@jillconyers)
I’ve never run a ragnar but not for lack of trying. The timing and location never work with life. I would love a ragnar trail even better. Very cool.
I feel like that’s part of the reason I’ve never done one before…timing and life! This one works out perfectly, finally. I can’t wait!
Good luck at your first Ragnar! I’ve never done a relay–does that make me incomplete as a runner? :p
Thank you! No, not incomplete, not at all! But I’m glad to know I’m not alone!
Beach Body Bliss
I have never heard of this but it sounds so interesting! I’m definitely going to look into it more!
Yes, do! Everyone says they are so much fun!
This weekend is Ragnar Chicago, and I am so sad to be missing it. I ran it last year and LOVED it, but then since I’m only now getting back to consistent running after breaking my back last fall, it just wasn’t an option. I need to do some actual trail running first, but I’d love to do a Ragnar Trail!
Trail running will change your life! I’m glad you’re getting some consistency back, injuries are no fun!
Dixya @ Food, Pleasure, and Health
sounds like a fantastic relay. i have never done one..
I’m glad to know I’m not alone!
Liz @ The Clean Eating Couple
This looks like it was so much fun! Would love to do a race like this!
Yes! I’m super excited!
I have not done a relay either, and I don’t think I ever will. I think they sound like a lot of fun, but I don’t think my body, particularly my gut, would handle running like that very well! Kudos to you, have a blast 🙂
Lani Yearicks (@armytbonegirl)
I’ve done 2 Ragnars, both road (although I’d love to do a trail one someday). My advice would be to lay out everything you plan on taking with and then go through it again and put half of it away. You’ll understand after. But no matter what, have fun!