Sorry for the delay, but I've included lots of photos to make it up to you all!
I really don't even know where to begin describing Ragnar. Summarizing 180 miles of running and everything that goes with it is really difficult, but I'll do my best. I'll do a second post with details about our team's race, this is more general info. Feel free to ask questions if I leave anything out!
There were free Tats in the race packet. We even Tattooed the van.
Ragnar Relay NY started in Woodstock and wound its way through the Hudson River Valley ending in Dobbs Ferry. The course was beautiful albeit a little on the hilly side (I think almost every leg finished uphill) marching through country roads, parks, trails, small towns, and residential areas (a great little change for a girl stuck in the city).
Wait, I have to run up that?
Ok, it was worth running up!
Oh, look water.
With over 200 teams registered, it was far bigger than I expected but remarkably well organized. I can only imagine the logistics of marking out the course, positioning volunteers at every exchange, and ensuring that everyone had a good time, but the Ragnar folks did it! Teams ranged from 6 (Ultra teams) to 12 members (normal, 'sane' folks), with a whole variety of abilities, energy, and team creativity (spirit was big on the course).
Each wave start consisted of about 15 teams in order to stagger them out along the course.
There were 36 legs total in the race ranging in distance from 2.7 miles to 8.3, each rated for distance and elevation change from 'easy' to 'very difficult'. Each runner ran 3 legs (Ultra runners ran 2 legs back-to-back 3 times), and while not running, runners were responsible for cheering along other runners and tending to the needs of their team member on the course. I was a member of a mixed ultra team (3 guys, 3 girls), that was heavy on the sarcasm and sass. If you can't take the heat, don't get in our minivan.
Like a Glove.
It quickly became obvious to us at the start that there was a big difference between 6 and 12 person teams, more than just the mileage. 12 person teams were heavy on the spirit, costumes, and themes (this is NOT to say they were any less serious runners), while 6 person teams were a little more subdued, possibly conserving energy for what was to come.
This entire team dress up as Pre.
With a 6 person team, you only have one van (12 person teams have 2 vans, so people can take a break) and the team is awake the entire time. Its a bit exhausting to put it nicely. Either way, both types of teams were in for the experience of a lifetime and far more time in a van than is healthy. The race itself is like a rolling party and its very social. Along the course we were constantly leap frogging other teams, running into them at exchanges, and cheering for them on the course. It made it fun to have more than one van honking and cheering for you as they went by.
Ragnar is a blast. Our team had a few snafus along the way (I'll get to the details in my next post), and we still had a great time! We even were trying to pick out our next one while still jammed in the van. That should speak volumes for what the race was like.