It has now been a week and half since I did the Ragnar Relay from Madison, WI to Chicago, IL. I am recovered fully but the race was quite hard.
First let me tell you I was on an "Ultra Team" which means instead of the usual 12 runners for a team, my team had only 6 runners. This meant about double the distance and I was hoping for double the fun. Well........ not quite.
The Ragnar Relay is an event that takes place all over the country with many different relays through some of the most beautiful parts. This is the one that goes right through my neck of the woods and a lot of the course is on trails that I run on a regular basis. Most teams consist of 12 runners who pile into 2 different vans and run a total of 3 different legs to complete the almost 200 miles to Chicago. My team had only 1 van. Since the race doesn't stop, runners run through the night and very little sleep (if any) is had. Teams start in Madison at different times in order to try to finish close to the same time in Chicago for the post race party. Some teams start as early as 5 or 6AM while other start as late as 5PM. That is the basics.
Fat Tire Express: Brian, Scott, Paul, Bill, Trisha, and Rob
Paul, Rob, and Scott ran again much better in the cooler night but at exchange 18, we had a big problem to solve along with about 5 other teams. With the super hot temperatures forecasted for Saturday and how far back we were, there was no way we would make the finish line until 9 or 10PM. One of the race officials was able to get the race director on the phone (it was like 2:30AM now) and we were told to do what we needed to do to get to the finish line on time. We could skip legs or double run (2 runners on 2 different legs at the same time). Like I said before, we were not racing this so we took this in and made a few tough decisions.
Then there were some crappy things like to hot weather and crabby runners bent on making sure all the "Rules" were kept. And what is with the safety rules on steroids!!! You have to cross the road with a flag? What, am I a child? There was one exchange where a volunteer made sure we had our flag and vests on a 7PM when the sun was still well up and the road to cross was more like a driveway than a road. It is sort or ironic that they were hell bent on these rules but didn't cancel the race due to excessive heat. Don't get me wrong, I was ll in favor of the race going on in the heat, there is personal responsibility here.
Then there were run teams that had to "kill" as many teams as possible and make sure you knew it by marking it off on their vans. Yeah, I get it, it is fun to do that, I can see but I wonder how many of those teams removed a "kill" when they were passed? I am guessing ZERO. Heck, I got 'killed' like 30 or more times in just my last legs.
If you were at this Ragnar, I hope you had fun. I certainly did even with the conditions. A different type of race is always fun to try and I am not completely saying no to future one, but I will be cautious before saying yes.
Keep on Running!!!