Ragnar Relay Adirondacks Race Recap
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This past weekend I ran Ragnar Relay Adirondacks for the second time. As with last year’s recap, it’s hard to say where to start. Honestly so much goes on in such a short period of time that it’s hard to know how to sum it all up…couple that with lack of sleep and it’s also hard to remember it all.
To keep this as organized as possible, I’ll try to keep this chronological. So, first things first…the decorating of the vans.
We spent the night in Saratoga the night before the race so we could chill out, bond and obviously get our van decorating on which included lots of poop…well, not real poop. Why you ask? Well, our team name was Don’t Crap on the Grass. It’s the #2 rule of Ragnar and now the name of a kick butt relay team.
Hard to tell from the pictures here but we adorned the back bumper with a grass tablecloth, topped with with some fake poop and tagged the crap (pun intended) out of other vans with our amazing magnets.
Our scheduled start time was at 6:15 AM at Saratoga Spa State Park. Since I was in Van 2, my V2 teammates and I didn’t technically need to be there but since we’re supportive and all that jazz we woke our butt up extra early to send Van 1 off.
I was actually in Van 1 last year and have to say that an early start time isn’t all that bad and the anticipation of having to wait to start when you’re in Van 2 is a little nerve wracking. To kill off our nerves and time, we drove to a diner close by the 1st exchange and fueled up on breakfast, naturally.
I can’t recall the exact time but eventually Runner 6 from V1 came in to pass off to Runner 7, my teammate, Patty.
Once my van started our part of the relay, I still had a ways to wait until I ran since I was designated as Runner 11. While I waited to get my portion of the party started, I took in the scenery and obviously helped pump up my teammates by making them do push-ups 😉
Eventually, it was time to run my first leg which I’ll go into detail about below. Once I finished I handed off to Honey-Beth who ran it right into Million Dollar Beach at Lake George (my favorite exchange) which meant it was time for us to relax while Van 1 did some work.
Lake George is an awesome exchange for a variety of reasons. 1. IT’S GORGEOUS. 2. There showers and changing rooms readily available. 3. There are a handful of restaurants to grab real food at.
After grabbing some grub and gas we headed to the next exchange at Ticonderoga Middle School to meet the last runner from Van 1 so Patty could start our second series of legs. These legs would be our night runs and that meant breakin’ out the night gear including a whistle for safety.
Or as Kelly put it “Now I won’t get raped by bears”. All kidding aside, there are bears though they typically don’t make an appearance during Ragnar.
Van 1 got in around 11 or so which meant that my van had to literally relay through the night from Ticonderoga all the way to the Essex County Fairgrounds. This is another exchange that offers hot showers, delicious local food (seriously the butternut squash soup was ON POINT) and a place to sleep….meaning, a cold open barn. I chose to try to catch some winks there and nearly froze my nose, toes and bottom off.
After a terrible attempt at trying to get some Zzzz’s we headed to AuSable Valley Middle School to meet up with Van 1. They also have hot food, showers and WARM INDOOR SLEEPING. In retrospect, we should have driven ahead to here to rest.
Our departure from here was the final series of legs for Van 2 which meant that Runner 12 (Honey-Beth) was going to BRING IT HOME straight to the finish in Lake Placid.
RUNNER 11 LEGS
LEG 11: This 5.7 mile leg starts off in Glens Falls, NY and while it’s mainly on a bike path there is A LOT of stop and go at first and in between stretches of the path that really aggravated me. It could also be that I was having some pains in my leg that required me to stop once or twice which is why didn’t enjoy the leg as much as I should have.
There were parts that were pretty though and I did manage to snap a few pictures.
My teammate Kelly also snapped this picture as I was coming in to pass off to Honey-Beth!
LEG 23: This was my middle of the night leg and consisted of only 1.9 miles. The cool part was that this leg runs right along Lake Champlain which was lit beautifully by moonlight. The sad part is that it was WAY too dark out to actually appreciate it or get any pictures.
LEG 35: Only 2.8 miles but it’s probably my favorite leg of them all since it runs right through the Adirondack Park Preserve and past High Falls Gorge which is absolutely gorgeous. Obviously, I stopped to snap some pics.
My favorite pic of them all….the One Mile To Go sign….the last mile of a Ragnar experience is bittersweet but mostly exciting since it means that you’re just that much closer to the finish. I literally danced my way into Exchange 36, slapped the bracelet onto Honey-Beth and while she ran to the finish, we drove to finish to meet her there.
After nearly 30 hours of 12 runners relaying from Saratoga to Lake Placid, Honey-Beth finally brought it home to the finish after a grueling 7.8 mile final leg, 2 HOURS ahead of schedule! As she ran in, we met up with her and ran through the finish line together.
This epic journey, adventure, ridiculously crazy relay or whatever you want to call it had been accomplished together. The sleeplessness, pain and freezing cold night temps were all fought off with laughter, fueled by a common goal creating a bond that only other Ragnarians understand.
Have you ever run a Ragnar or relay race before?
What was your experience like?
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