Ragnar Relay – Madison-Chicago 200 mile (ish)… June 2012 (pt. 1)

Ragnar Relay – Madison-Chicago 200 mile (ish)… June 2012 (pt. 1)

Apparently, I got busy over the past month.  I’m beginning to sound like a broken record, aren’t I?

The month of June and thus, the summer racing season in Chicago, kicked-off with the Madison to Chicago 200 mile Ragnar Relay.  As you might recall, I didn’t know any of the other 11 runners with whom I’d be spending 48 hours and close quarters in our vans.  At one point, we were a full 12-person team, then we were down to 11, and then to 10, and by the time the race began, we were at 11.  Flexibility is always a good thing in life and in running!

If you’ve never done a relay before, as was my case, it’s a pretty interesting experience.  The basic premise is this: you get 12 runners (or 6, if you want to do an ultra), two of those big vans, and then you take turns running.  Van one has six runners, and while the first six runners are going, Van two, which carries the other six runners, hangs out, relaxes, or does whatever they want until it’s their turn to run.  I was in van two, runner #11 (out of a 12-person team, even though we were down a runner), so I didn’t even begin running until nearly 5pm on Friday.

I have tons of videos and pictures from the event, which I think can do a wonderful job of telling my Ragnar story.  I’ll link to the videos, since I can’t embed them in wordpress (or don’t know how to, anyway), and I’ll post the pics here in chronological order.  Enjoy the stories 🙂

Video one: van one getting ready to start the race.  Team captain Otis is bestowing the coveted Ragnar snap bracelet, our pseudo-baton, onto our first runner’s wrist for the festivities that will ensue over the next few hours (read: days).  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1kqTJp2-85o&feature=plcp.

Video two: race start.  Some teams started as early as 6am or as late as 10.  We started right at 8am.  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qnxhnPAEus8&feature=plcp.  Our runner is in the green and black tank.

Here's the Ragnar starting arch/starting line. These were a handful of the other teams who began their Ragnar expeditions at 8am.
The Ragnar starting area/starting arch, from a distance. The orange tent-like thing on the right is the Ragnar merchandise tent. It was already pretty sunny and warm-ish (70s) at 8am on Friday.
The Ragnar merchandise store (orange tent) with Randy (blue t-shirt) and Brian (hoodie) from van 2, chit-chatting in the foreground.

Once the race began, we in van two had a lot of time on our hands: well, several hours, anyway.  After doing some running around and grabbing breakfast/lunch/brunch for everyone in the van, we went over to what would be our first exchange, between Otis and Brian, at a school in Wisconsin.  Van two hung out, took pictures, talked to vendors, and did all the necessary Ragnar stuff, like attend a safety training, get flags (that we had to use at night anytime a non-runner was crossing the street), and generally just leisurely passed the time for several hours.  It was rather relaxing 🙂

Lindsay and Brian show off the awesome orange Ragnar flags that we had to use during the race anytime a non-runner crossed a street. Safety first! Made me think of elementary school crossing guards
Jamie and Randy chill in the lawn as van two waits for Otis (last runner, van one) to come in and Brian (first runner, van two) to start. Jamie shows off her awesome core strength.
Lindsay, Brian, and Randy showcasing Van Two pride... or we're all closet hippies.


The Otis fan club, also known as the other runners from Van One, waiting for Otis to finish his first leg so they can all rest for a few hours. Stephanie, Allison, Liz, and Ashley show their O-T-I-S love

(I’ll continue the recap in the next post)…

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