You always dream of the perfect road trip. You grab a bunch of your pals, finally rent that 12-seater van, and hit the road with wild abandon. You know the kind: off-key sing-alongs, drawing on your friends’ faces while they sleep, and empty snack wrappers covering every surface of vehicle. But we’re guessing you never thought to have one of your friends run along the road to earn their seat in the van.
It’s a little something known as the Ragnar Relay. And yes, there’s a finish line somewhere out there, but conquering this challenge with your crew is what it’s all about.
You gotta have guts… annnd friends to run a Ragnar.
Here’s what you can expect when you bravely sign up for the Ragnar Relay, a 200-mile point-to-point race across sidewalks, backroads, and asphalt: First, you sign up. That locks you and 11 of your friends—or six if you’re ultrarunners—in for a date with destiny (and a van).
You will pile in two vans for a two-day, one-night supported run. The “support” is from the 11 runners that aren’t running at the time, who’ll be driving your personally accessorized van (honestly, van is life) to scrape you off the concrete at the end of your turn, anywhere from 11 to 24 miles.
It’s a time to rally and truly come together on the open road. Really, if you were just “sort of” friends before your journey, these people will probably all be in your wedding by the end.
Okay, we’ll spare you the Amish jokes, but we’re not sure they’d read this anyway… Instead, you’re going to learn a thing or two about their beautiful Pennsylvania Dutch countryside.
Your team will set out from Stauffer Park in Lancaster and travel all the way to Split Rock Resort in the Poconos. Somewhere between your 212th cow and 15th horse-drawn buggy, you’ll realize running 200-ish miles might be as strenuous as raising a barn without power tools. Even as you pass through picturesque Jim Thorpe, you’ll be well-aware that you’re traveling up into the mountains (hello, elevation). And it becomes so real whenever you’re hoofing it through the pitch dark with a headlamp latched to your forehead.
Ragnar gets that, too. That’s why they’ve plotted out checkpoints along the routes with local groups and charities set up to hook you up with hydration, goodie bags, and even some designated outdoor sleeping spots (if you’ve been cooped up too long in the van).
And the real payoff comes at the finish line in Lake Harmony, where you hug your team and jump up and down in the crisp mountain air. Once you get your well-earned finisher’s medal, take advantage of the recovery station for your aching legs so you can make it to the after-party There, you laugh, cry, dance, drink, reminisce about your magical two-day adventure.
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