10 Reasons to Run Ragnar Adirondacks

Two years ago, on a whim, I decided that it might be fun to do a Ragnar Relay.  I was half marathon training at the time and had caught both the running bug and the travel bug.  I honestly didn’t know much about it other than you relayed with a group of 12 people from Saratoga Springs up to Lake Placid.  Approximately 200-ish miles. 

It sounded like a badass thing to do, I consider myself a badass person so when a spot became available on a team through a friend of a friend of course I said YES.  

Hands down one of the best (running) decisions I have ever made.  In no particular order, here are 10 reasons why:

Ever thought about running a Ragnar Relay? Here are 10 reasons why you should run Ragnar Adirondacks- don't think of it as a 200 mile race but a 200 mile adventure with 12 of your best friends! TheFitFoodieMama.com 

1. Cow Selfies with your BRFs (Best Running Friends)

We all know that runner friends make the best friends (seriously, who else can you talk about peeing with so freely?) which also means that they are the perfect people to see the sights of the beautiful Adirondack mountains as you make your way from Saratoga to Lake Placid.  It’s less of a race and more like 200 miles of laughter and cheers with some sweat and running mixed in between.  Oh and cow selfies. 

Somewhere after Exchange 6 you will find a farm. With cows. For selfies.

Somewhere after Exchange 6 you will find a farm. With cows. For selfies.

2. Make New Running Friends with Moose Hats

One of the things I hear most often when I tell people that you usually run with a team of 12 is “I don’t have that many friends”.  Well, me either.  In fact, I ran my first Ragnar with a team of people I didn’t know.  I actually hadn’t met them once and by the end of the race they had not only cheered me on but also saved me from a few bears (just kidding).  Seriously though, whether your teammates are your friends beforehand or not, you will all be close friends after.  Peeing in the woods and wearing moose hats will totally do that.  


Me in a moose hat at 3 AM (attempting sleep) with teammate turned friend, HoneyBeth. Because, Ragnar.

3. The Views

Hands down one of the absolute TOP reasons to run Ragnar Adirondacks is for the views.   Whether your from the city or the country (like myself) there is no way that you will not be awe struck by the amazing scenery that you encounter on your adventure.  The race itself takes place right about the peak of fall foliage which means as you run through towns like Saratoga Spring, Lake George all the way up to Lake Placid, you will get to see the leaves transform in a way that only running can show you.  

Ragnarian, Erin agrees

“The race takes place at the most beautiful time of the year in both lake George and lake placid!! The leaves are already changing. The weather is ideal for running-very little humidity and cool at night. Perfect running conditions!”

4. Time of Year

Aside from all the pretty colors of the fall foliage, the weather has always helped to deliver an amazing experience.  Since it falls at the end of September the temperatures during the day aren’t too hot (and usually there is a nice breeze) and at night, they aren’t that cold.  Though if it does get too chilly, you can always sleep in a barn or school to keep warm! 

5. Bragging Rights

Other than the fact that you get to brag that you relayed 200 miles THROUGH THE NIGHT in the middle of the Adirondack Mountains where there are bears and wild animals (to be honest, I have never actually encountered any) there is also Tongue Mountain.  Also known as the Ragnar leg, it has an elevation gain that lasts approximately 3 miles and IS the hardest leg of the race.  Whichever one of your teammates takes on this challenge has extra bragging rights AND an extra medal.  

6. The Medal

Speaking of medals, Ragnar Relay is known for supplying it’s finishers with pretty awesome bling.  The medals for the last two years were no exception. The 2015 medal pieces together with your other teammates medals to say “Together We Ran 200 Miles”.  Cool, right?! 

7. The Perks

Brand new this year Team Captains get a pair of REEBOK shoes! Yup! Earlier this year, Ragnar Relay and Reebok teamed up which means tons of exciting things including shoes for all Captains! Being a fearless leader of a Ragnar team isn’t the easiest job in the world.  There transportation, hotels, gas and 12 people to organize can get a bit hectic and requires a bit of running around before the relay even begins.  What better reward than shoes? None that I can think of! 


8. Team Spirit

Other than the amazing views, one of the best parts about running Ragnar ADK (or just a Ragnar in general), is the sense of team spirit.  Each team picks it’s own, unique name which gets printed on the bibs, vans get decorated so that they are recognized by both your teammates and other Ragnarians while on the road and honestly just for the fun of it. 

My team last year was “Don’t Crap On The Grass“…Ragnar rule #2.  Others, like Deborah from Confessions of a Mother Runner came up with more creative names like “Moms Do It All Night Long” (referencing the overnight part of the relay).   I just love their team name and coordination! 


And if you’re looking to get team shirts made in a flash then definitely checkout Rush Order Tees [affiliate link].  They are fast, timely and offer a wide variety of shirts, tee shirts and tanks.  They even have a new sister site called Spread Spirit which allows you to order tees for fundraising and promotion purposes.  Meaning you can order your team shirts for a cause! 

They are also the ones who put together this awesome post on Motivational T-Shirts To Get You Through The Next Big Race recently.  They’re a great company with awesome customer service and quality tanks and tees.  I highly recommend them! 

9. The Cowbell

I honestly cannot say enough about the team van support and the local support that is offered during the course at Ragnar ADK.  Not only is your team and other runners there to cheer you on with each ring of the cowbell but there are also dedicated locals who look forward to making sure the runners that pass by are happy and hydrated.  

Fellow Ragnarian, Emily put it this way when asked to describe why she love Ragnar Adirondacks…

“…Excellent exchanges run by locals with food, showers, and places to rest.  Ragnar spirit and support throughout the entire race, for example an orange slice mid-run from a “stranger” on your longest leg…”

But seriously, the exchanges are awesome including the exchange up in Essex County where you can sleep in a barn, get hot soup and some delicious tasting coffee and magical hot chocolate at 2 AM.  

10. The Experience.

To be honest, the entire experience of Ragnar Adirondacks is what makes it entirely worth it.  Your teammates whether old or new, the scenery, the perfect running weather, the locals and fun exchanges and everything in between.  

Another fellow Ragnarian, Stephen put it perfectly when asked about what makes Ragnar Adirondacks so special-

 “The amazing Adirondack mountains, the home of the Winter Olymipics twice and the venue of the miracle on ice, the sunrise over the lakes and mountains on Saturday morning. Great communities supporting running. Saratoga, the home of the Traverse Stakes horse race. Lake George is natural beauty in the east! A must do for any runner”

There is a reason that this will be my 3rd year back and it is not just because I am an ambassador for the series.  It is because even after no sleep, days and miles of running, lack of hot meals or time alone, it is unlike any other experience I have ever had.  

The laughs, the fun, the memories made on those 200 miles as on the journey through the mountains from Saratoga to Lake Placid makes every minute of sleep deprivation worth it.  

I love this race.  I love the running friends I have and the ones I have yet to make.  I love the sense of accomplishment not only for what I have done but for what we have done together.  

ADK 2015


BONUS #11. 

There IS an after party.  Don’t miss it.  It’s a beer tent with lots of awesome food (including vegan and gluten free) and lots and lots of beer and fun.  Highly recommended.  There are even these older Canadian guys who can not only out run you but totally out drink you.  


Ready to signup? Make sure you register before July 21st when the prices go up! 

Already registered? Better start your training soon? Checkout Pear Sports who have awesome training plans to make sure you’re Ragnar Ready! 

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About me

Annmarie is a self proclaimed foodie, avid long distance runner and functional fitness coach. A DVRT Master Trainer, HKC Instructor and food allergy sufferer, she writes about strength training for runners as well as shares allergy friendly recipes for busy athletes.   She is also the owner of Strength In Motion Studio, mother of two sassy sisters and wife to a chronically busy chiropractor.   Subscribe by email for updates to get the latest workouts, advice and recipes straight to your inbox!


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