How to Create an Epic Ragnar Relay Adventure!

As some of you may or may not know, I just spent all of last weekend relaying my way from Saratoga Springs, NY to Lake Placid, NY.  It’s a 200-ish mile journey and this is my 3rd time completing it.  

The first year I ran it in 2014, I had no idea what to expect and though I finished it with a little bit of a waddle, I got it done.  With my spirits high (though a bit sore) I checked it off my bucket list as the race that made me an official badass. 

After the initial soreness wore off, I found myself itching to do it again.  I planned, plotted and organized for a better part of a year and embarked on another Ragnar Relay adventure with my team again in 2015.  

Not to say that the first year wasn’t amazing but experiencing the race for the 2nd time as a veteran Ragnarian really made it just that much more awesome.  So as you can imagine, running Ragnar Relay Adirondacks for my 3rd year in a row with a SERIOUSLY amazing group of badass ladies, made this year a truly special experience. 

So, instead of recapping my legs as I have done in previous years, I am going to recap in a different way this time and share with you ways you can make a Ragnar Relay an epic adventure you will never forget- with tips from my now team of veteran Ragnarians, of course! 


Really own your team theme.


Team Bearly Breathing Ragnar ADK

This may seem like an obvious tip but having a team theme and REALLY owning it and making it yours can seriously enhance your experience.  This year, our team name was Bearly Breathing.  Aside from it being a funny pun, we also made it ours by decorating our van with stuffed bears zip tied to the grill, had team magnets made and obviously wore team t-shirts at the finish.  


The best part about having such an identifiable team (with a professionally done logo) was that we were the topic of conversation at nearly every exchange and other teams were even requesting to take extras of our van magnets.  Not only did it allow us to interact and make friends with other teams but it also made us feel even more awesome than we already did.  

Have a “kick ass” driver. – Mariah L.

Team Bearly Breathing Ragnar ADK

Mariah, who may as well have been our van mom despite it being her first Ragnar, made the perfect point that having a driver to navigate really made all the difference.  Here is what she had to say:

…it took a ton of stress off us with trying to figure out where we’re going, there were times when everyone in the van who ran really needed to take a minute to relax at the exchange and our driver graciously got out to see off the next runner/pick up the runner coming in.

Our van (Van 2) was lucky enough to have the best ever driver, Shannon, to help lead the way over the mountains, through the woods and even around a dirt speedway 😉

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Have cheerleaders at each exchange. – Bri F.


More than one of my teammates said to me that having cheerleader and someone to greet them at each exchange really made all the difference.  As the relay goes on and each runner gets tired (especially during the middle of the night) the excitement can dissipate.

Having a driver or fellow teammate there to cheer the runner on as they approach the exchange can really make all the difference and keep the moral of the team high and everyone energized and happy 😉 

Have a veteran Ragnarian in your van. – Mariah L.

Team Bearly Breathing

While it isn’t necessary to have a veteran Ragnarian in your van, it sure does help a lot especially when they are familiar with all the exchanges and what they have to offer.  As Mariah put it, 

I think having someone in each van who already ran a Ragnar also came in handy because even though they include the food/sleeping options at each exchange in the app, there are some things we only knew by Annmarie’s experience…

By experience she means lessons I have learned by doing it twice before the hard way….like sleeping on a cold barn floor when we could have easily driven to the next exchange where a high school was waiting with a quiet, warm gym! 😉 

Take time to recover in-between legs.


Whether you massage yourself with a hand roller between legs, take the time to roll out at the exchange or simply get out of the van and move, it will do wonders to enhance your overall experience.  This year my legs totaled just over 20 miles and I was not one ounce of sore at the finish or in the days that followed.  

Bring post running warm clothes. – Kelley G.

Team Bearly Breathing.

Obviously this is going to depend on the climate that you’re running in, but obviously do your best to pack for the weather.  In the Adirondacks it got pretty cold at night and I have to say, I was extremely happy to have my bear hat with hand-warming pocket paws or else it would have been quite chilly walking to and from the van during exchanges! 😉 

Give all your gear a TEST before you use it. – Amy I.

Team Bearly Breathing

Aside from multi-port car chargers being a life saver (no one likes a dead phone), my teammate Amy suggested that you test out your running gear before giving it a go.  

I had bought a new Bluetooth wireless headset and it worked fine sitting still but not running which was a bummer on my first leg.

By the way, her first leg was 7.7 miles which is quite a long time to run without any tunes :( 

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Speaking to that, my teammate Tara F. had this suggestion… 

…make sure you have playlists downloaded on to phone rather than in the cloud. i wasn’t able to listen to anything on my last leg because i had no reception.

Pack snacks especially if you’re food intolerant. – Tara F.


No but seriously, pack snacks, food, whatever you think you might crave so you can stay happy….not hungry. 

…if you have any food restrictions (gluten free, vegan, lactose intolerant) you should probably at least pack one decent meal option, like a good sandwich, along with power/energy bars. it is very hard to find decent food along the way esp in the ADK region. – Tara F. 

Enjoy the Sweet Happenings.

Processed with Snapseed.

While I do agree that it is a bit challenging to find allergy friendly food along the way in the ADK, I have to say that one of my favorite parts of the entire course is the exchange at the Essex Fairground where you can find everything from the best hot chocolate ever to fresh homemade squash soup that is the bomb dot com.  

If you ever run ADK, give it a try, you won’t be disappointed. 

Enjoy the camaraderie with the other teams.


This is Keith and Everybody else.  No, seriously that was their team name and this dude was hilarious. They happened to be at most of the exchanges we were at so we took the liberty of asking him to take a picture of myself and another ambassador….we got a selfie instead! 😛 

Stop and take some pics.

One Mile to Go

No, but seriously, it may seem like it takes forever to relay 200 miles but when it’s all said and done, it goes by in the blink of an eye.  Do yourself a favor; stop, enjoy your running route, snap some pictures and share the crap out of them showing how big of a badass you truly are.  

It’s not bragging, it’s just a fact! 😉 

Ragnar ADK Team Bearly Breathing



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  • September 28, 2016
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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!