Happiness is only real when it’s shared. This is what is written on the back of the medal that I received for the Ragnar Relay that I ran this past weekend. And I couldn’t agree more. A few years ago I had an idea that, at the time was just a dream. I have completed running events – 10K, half marathon, marathon but I needed an event that was different. I wanted to be a part of something. I didn’t know what it was but this idea kept coming back to me. Last summer I discovered Ragnar Relays. This was it! This was what I had been looking for.
Ragnar is a 200ish mile running relay. 12 runners in 2 vans each run 3 legs to complete this continuous race. As if that weren’t enough of a challenge, I chose Ragnar Adirondacks (that’s right – mountains!) As I told people about this, the common response was “Why?” or “Does this sound like fun to you?”. It did sound like fun to me, and it was. Only it was so much better that I had ever imagined.
As a swimmer and a runner I am not generally part of a team. My events are individual. Being part of this 12 runner team was incredible! Going into it I was concerned that the faster runners on the team would resent having me there, but that concern disappeared after the first leg. We were truly a team and we all played our part. Being the analytical person that I am, I created a spreadsheet with the time that each person would take based on their pace. We all used this tool and we watched as runner after runner beat their expected time. We all worked together to measure against our pace time. I was never compared to the speedy Boston Qualifiers. I was only compared to the pace that I had estimated.
My other concern was that most of the team members had never met one another and would they get along? As I sat at dinner after the race and watched conversations and interactions between people who had met only 60 hours earlier, I realized that bonds were created this weekend. We were part of a team and that brought us together, that and being in a van together for 25+ hours!
One of the funniest moments happened while we were at the start line. We were representing Canada in our red and white with the team name True North Strong and Fast. As we were having our picture taken in walked Team USA. The timing couldn’t have been more perfect.
This event was so much more than a running race. The support, companionship, scenery and hilarious moments strongly outweighed the difficult runs, lack of sleep and smelly vans. And while it was a competition, the support among all the teams was amazing. Cheering for other runners and even supportive words during a “kill” (when you pass another team). Being polite Canadians we used the term “I’m sorry, eh” instead of kill (and we had a lot of them!).
There is a term used within Ragnar to describe the feeling once the race is finished. I think most of our team is suffering from a “Ragnover”… I am still suffering 4 days later.
Of the 277 teams that raced we placed 13th! 25 hours and 39 minutes. Can’t wait for the next one!
Find your inner wild ~ Ragnar
Photo credits – Ryan Kovack