All over the country, in the most breathtaking stretches of America, teams of runners are pounding the pavement (or hitting the trail) in the name of adventure.
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.
A run-cation with friends
You gotta have guts… annnd friends to run a Ragnar.
On one hand, you can choose the classic Ragnar Relay, a 200-mile point-to-point race across sidewalks, backroads, and asphalt. Sign up, and you and 11 of your friends—or six if you’re ultrarunners—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 (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.
But if you’re more hardcore (or want to be!), Ragnar also offers a trail relay.
Think of the Ragnar Trail Relay as a gateway drug to trail running. First, round up eight friends who aren’t afraid to go off-road and rough it. Over two days, your team will take turns continuously running three different loops — one that’s hard, one that’s harder still, and one that’s just plain not easy — until everyone’s had three loops, close to a half-marathon’s distance. Then, you crash having earned the title Ragnarian.
In between loops, you’ll rest up at base camp in the Ragnar Village — basically a tent village filled with fellow runners, bonfires, and endless s’mores. Expect a grown-up summer camp vibe, all under one billion stars (you’re in the sticks, remember).
West Virginia: Wild and run-able
And at the end of this summer, they’re coming for us. Ragnar Trail Appalachians goes down at Big Bear Lake Camplands in West Virginia, about 40 minutes south of Ohiopyle (two hours from PGH). There, you’ll get to run wild over those fabled country roads (read: single-tracks) of WV.
So start assembling your team; decorate your tent; break in your trail sneaks; and if all that sounds just too exciting and you’ve got an extra vacation day hanging around, show up Thursday with s’mores materials for the Thursday night communal bonfire.