Earlier this year I completed the Atlanta Ragnar Trail relay race (details here), a new race in the Ragnar trails relay race series. The format of that relay focused on a team of eight runners completing three different trails each in a specific order starting on Friday and finishing on Saturday night in a relay fashion. When a runner was not on the course, they could chill out at their campsite or enjoy some of the numerous activities Ragnar had planned. In a lot of ways this was running summer camp for adults. After the completion of Ragnar Trail Atlanta, Ragnar announced that they would award a double medal, the Southern Discomfort Medal, with the completion of Ragnar Tennessee in the same year as completing Ragnar Trail Atlanta. This meant that if I could get myself on a Ragnar Tennessee team I could get twice the bling for finishing both races. Immediately I realized I would have to find twelve others to share this adventure as the bulk of the team mates I ran Atlanta with were already committed to a Tennessee Team. Finding twelve other people from scratch would prove to be a challenge, but I really wanted to complete both races, experiencing both a Ragnar Trail relay race as well as the traditional road, point to point, format.
Currently Ragnar relay races come in two formats, road and trail. The trail format is basically an eight person team camping at a large area campground with all the other teams. At the start of the race the first team member takes to the trail finishing one of three designated legs, with the next runner following. This continues til all eight runners have ran three times on each of the three trails. When a runner is not out on the course they can sit around the communal campfire, hang out at their campsite, try to catch some sleep or participate in numerous activities Ragnar provides.
In contrast to the trail Ragnar relay race format, the traditional format is a point to point relay race consisting of teams of twelve runners. The twelve runners are split into two vans of six, one of which is always active on the course. Starting on Friday morning, the runners rotate through each position moving forward to the final destination. By Saturday evening the final runner completes the final leg, usually in the heart of a downtown area. Similar to trail relays, each runner runs three legs a piece, but the length and difficulty is variable to the terrain and location of each leg. During a traditional Ragnar relay race the van is home and runners end up living a nearly nomadic existence.
My first challenge was finding eleven other people to run this relay with, of course I had some luck fielding a team in the end. A short bit after Ragnar Trail Atlanta I began to chat with a friend of a friend at a half marathon we were in. Turns out she had just finished Ragnar Trail Atlanta as well and really wanted to do Ragnar Tennessee to get the double medal being offered. Her team she ran this with before had shrunk and she had given up fielding a team. After discussing things with her she said she could get four to five people together and that if I could get the remainder of a team together we would do Tennessee. I was in high spirits, I now had at least five people plus myself and one other team mate from Ragnar Atlanta, so I only needed five more people. As I changed clothes in the parking lot, I began talking to the gentleman in the vehicle next to me. We began to talk Ragnar and before I knew it I only needed about four others to fill our team. Over the next couple of weeks I began fishing the Facebook page and eventually I filled our team. From there we put the money down and prepared for September.
This will continue in my next post… til next time.