by Mark Lane-Holbert, PhD(c), Educational Psychology, Cert. Logotherapist & USATF Coach
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What is this Ragnar thing exactly and where does it fit in the running world?
|Immortals Medals, after 12+ Ragnar relays in 2023|
|Florida Trail Team of 8|
Well, that's a surprisingly difficult question to answer, it turns out... In old norse it means "warrior", yet today it means so many different things to different people, and the experience is not the same from one team to the next either, which heavily depends on the particular location and event. There were over 30 this year to choose from. One thing is the same across them all, "experiencing true camaraderie", according to Ragnar. And lest I forget: you get to run, and see some places you would probably never see by foot.
This included the end-of-the-year Florida Trail Ragnar, which I had the opportunity to participate in December 2nd-3rd, 2022. Could this be an Ultra with a team of 4, or be a marathon with a team of 6, or something more fun with a team of 8?
Yes, yes, and yes. That's one of the reasons Ragnar is so hard to understand from the outside, with so many possibilities and combinations of skill, experience, and speed, each story is unique on the other side of the relay experience. We formed a team of 8 to accomplish the Florida Trail Ragnar in about 24 hours held outside of Tampa Bay at Alafia State Park, but our team dropped down to 7 after an early ankle injury. Those who accepted this challenge included Team Captain Mike Grinnell (interviewed for this episode), Justin Yarbrough, Justin Morris, Joe Bridges, Tito Velasquez, Igor Kornienko and our in-house musician / volunteer, Bob Shea.
|Trail Music Support by Nurse Bob Shea|
In this episode, I start by interviewing the veteran team captain to see what it takes and how one gets into this Ragnar thing initially, and keeps it going for years. I also interview a relatively new Ragnar runner who is also volunteering to make coffee and hot cocoa as she keep the troops energized, just around the corner from the all night campfire and exchange zone where one "hands off the baton" between runners. We then hear from one of the organizers facilitating the sprawling event, informing us about topics from Ragnar route setup to "circus travels". And lastly we touch base with a group of folks known as "immortals" (note the norse mythology continuation), as they have earned the title by completing over 12 of these Ragnar events in one year, and find out from them some of their lessons learned and favorites. Forty-five time Ragnar alum Rick Harold told me while cheering on fellow "immortals" that it wasn't really about finishing or times or even running necessarily, but about the community and feeling of challenge accomplishment together, after he had just finished cheering for over 24 hours!
|Exchange area at Ragnar Florida|
Oh, and there are Road Ragnars and Sprint Ragnars as well. Perhaps more on that in a future episode, when I'm tempted to travel in a team van for 24 hours plus trading non-van time to run in who knows where! To summarize, a quote from Ragnar webpage: "Set a crazy goal. Gather your tribe. Divide and conquer. Bask in the joy of achieving something together that you could never do alone (very true). With more cowbell, baby. Always more cowbell. "
You can find everything else you need to know at: www.runragnar.com
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