Featured Review: Ragnar Relay Cape Cod
Community Review: Ragnar Relay Cape Cod
Featured Review: Ragnar Relay Cape Cod
Community Review: Ragnar Relay Cape Cod
Community Review: Ragnar Relay Trail MA
Featured Review: Ragnar Relay Trail MA
Featured Review: Ragnar Relay Cape Cod
Community Review: Ragnar Relay Cape Cod
Featured Review: Ragnar Relay Cape Cod
Community Review: Ragnar Relay Cape Cod
Community Review: Ragnar Relay Trail MA
Featured Review: Ragnar Relay Trail MA
15 thoughts on “Ragnar Relay”
Ragnar is a multi-day 192 mile running relay. Twelve person teams take turns running three times to cover the distance. Each “leg” (Note: Ragnar term for each run) is a different distance. You run every twelfth person, which means you find yourself running at crazy times of the day and night. This year, I was runner eight and ran 10.5 miles, 5.6 miles, and 2.3 miles at around 11:00 a.m., 10:00 p.m., and 8:00 a.m. for a total of 18.4 miles. As a bonus, my 10.5 miler was the second longest run on the team, which was great considering that I was scheduled for a 12 mile long run as I begin to taper for the Vermont City Marathon in two weeks.
This year, for the first time, I was in van 2. For Ragnar, your team divides into two vans of six that each serve to relay members as you leapfrog from exchange to exchange to meet your runners. For the first three years of my Ragnar experience, I was in van 1 (as runner 1, 6, and 5 for years 1 through 3, respectively). Van 1 tends to start running at 5:00 a.m., making for an early wake-up. Van 2, on the other hand, was scheduled to check-in at Exchange 6 at a little after 9:00 a.m. on Friday so that we could watch the safety video before we took over running at around 10:00 a.m.
Our (half) team of six, met up Thursday night at the Best Western Plus in Plymouth. The group consisted of Aaron, Geoff, Sandy, Sarah, Sean, and me. After a luxurious full night of sleep, we availed ourselves of the free hotel breakfast and headed off to meet van 1 at Duxbury Beach.
At Duxbury, things were just getting set-up by the Ragnar crew. We checked-in and walked around the sponsor tents. (I got a cold brew from one tent to save in the cooler we had in the van for tomorrow with breakfast.) Soon, our comrades in van 1 arrived! It was great to see Bobby, Jess, Josh, Paul, and Wes and to meet the new van 1 member, Peter. We took a few photos as a group (minus Aaron who had taken over from Jess and was out running).
Then van 1 headed off to breakfast, and we in van 2 got ready to meet Aaron at the seventh exchange. I had a quick snack and coordinated my water bottle and chomps for my 10.5 miler. (Note: My leg had van support, meaning that my van could stop and drop off water and words of encouragement; however, they had to handle some logistics while I was out running. As a result, I wanted to be sure that I had everything I would need. In contrast, for my night run, I decided not to take anything and got to take advantage of the van support. Works well both ways!)
My run started in and ended in Carver, while occasionally taking me across the town line into adjacent Plympton. The first two miles of the route contained some serious rolling hills! The hills persisted throughout but were most extreme in the beginning. In my head I thought, “What is this! The Cape is supposed to be flat!” The entirety of the 10.5 miles was through some residential areas, often along semi-busy roads. Since our team had started so early, there were few other Ragnar runners on the road. I was passed by three other runners, and we shared friendly greetings. All-in-all, it was a fairly standard run. I felt fine about the distance — I ran 20 miles last weekend in my final really really long run for my marathon training — and moved along consistently. I averaged 10:29 miles, a pretty good pace for me, and an excellent pace for me considering the distance. The coolest part of the run was seeing a helicopter that was hovering over a farm doing some agricultural work. I texted my team a mile out and was greeted by the team at the exchange. It’s always fun to run in and have someone to hand off to (and chest bump in the case of our team — it’s tradition). Our group is also great about coming out and cheering as a runner comes in and the next goes out. What better way to finish a 10.5 miler than to the cheers and well-wishes of your friends!
After the run, we headed back to the van. My teammates generously allowed me time for some stretching and a quick peanut butter sandwich and change of clothing. It was around 1:00 p.m. at this point, and I was hungry. I was glad we had ample snacks in the van. I refueled with the sandwich and some jerky. (I also might have indulged in my favorite race treat, Twizzlers!) I was lucky to have purchased a Dryrobe, an ultra-warm changing robe, that arrived just a day before Ragnar! The weather for Ragnar was cool this year. Temperatures were always in the upper 40s or low 50s. While this was great for running, it was a bit cold for standing around, especially for someone like me who is prone to feeling cold all the time anyway. I wore my Dryrobe pretty much all of the time when I wasn’t running, and even slept in it a couple of times. Being cold for a couple of days would have been miserable — Dryrobe to the rescue!
Our van continued dropping off runners and leapfrogging them from exchange to exchange for the rest of the afternoon. I couldn’t believe how different the schedule felt from van 1! In van 1, at this point, I would have been super tired from getting up at 3:00 a.m. and would be napping (for ages and ages) while waiting for van 2. This time I was part of van 2, and I had gotten a good full night sleep, eaten at normal times, and was feeling my normal level of “active-ness.” This made me probably a bit more engaged at exchanges, which was fun!
On our way to meet our Sean at exchange 12 in Buzzards Bay, we accidentally took a wrong turn that left us going the wrong way. This wasn’t a problem — we realize right away — however, on our detour, we ran into a runner who had accidentally strayed several miles off course! Sandy quickly pulled over and Sarah jumped out. The poor guy had run over 10 miles (much of them uphill on a major road and in the wrong direction!) for his planned 9.6 miler. We quickly collected him and brought him with us to the exchange to meet his team. We were, sadly, late to meet Sean as a result. Fortunately, van 1 was there to cheer him on. We quickly collected him and were off to grab a 5:00 p.m. dinner at the British Beer Company before having to start our next set of runs around 10:00 p.m.
After a solid dinner, we headed to the next exchange where van 1 would hand off to us at around 9:30 p.m. Following a disappointing trip across the street to a Dunkin’ that was already closed (at 7:00 p.m.! Seriously!) We all did some light resting / napping in the van. At this point, we were about half an hour or more ahead of schedule, so around 9:00 p.m., I got up and began or organize myself for my night run, which would start around 10:00 p.m. (instead of the originally scheduled 10:30 p.m.). During your night runs at Ragnar, or any time during the evening that you’re out of the van, it’s necessary to wear a reflective vest for safety. Headlamps are also mandatory for the night legs. Leg 20, my night leg, was 5.6 miles through Yarmouth.
In the past, I have had a kind of floating feeling on my night legs. This year, however, I felt much more grounded (better sleep?) and was pretty mindful as I ran. I was able to keep up a good pace as a result, at 10:30 per mile again. The marking were not as good as one might have hoped on this leg. As a result, I was very grateful when my team met me at around the 2.5 mile mark to cheer me on and give me some water. It was wonderful to see them and good to know that I was on the right track. I finished my night run in just under and hour and must have then gone into the van and crashed because the next thing I remember was that it was 2:00 a.m. and we were stopped, apparently having just passed off to van 1! More importantly, apparently there were showers to be had.
Shower! What? I woke up quite a bit when I heard this, especially since I had recalled learning there would be basically no shower service during Ragnar this year. (To which I had mentally replied, “Nooooo!”) I hadn’t brought a towel, but my teammate, Sandy, super super generously allowed me to use her towel after she had showered. After running 16 miles, I can assure you a shower is most welcome. I also grabbed an extremely delicious cup of soup from one of the volunteers at the school where we showed. Yum — a 2:00 a.m. snack!
From there, we headed to the next exchange in Eastam where van 1 was scheduled to pass off to us for the final six legs at 7:00 a.m. When we arrived at Nauset Region High School, I decided to head into the gym to sleep. For all my past Ragnar races, I had crashed on the bench in the van. Other on my team has spread out on the long benches this time. (The same benches I had no doubt slept on during much of my team’s legs over the previous hours.) My hip flexor was feeling very tight, and I didn’t want to sleep scrunch in a chair, so I tagged along with Aaron and headed to the gym. There I caught a few hours of excellent sleep on the gym floor. It was chilly with the doors open, but it was great to stretch out. After that, I definitely felt better!
When I got up, I learned that van 1 was running a little bit behind. They had arrived at one of the exchanges to find that it was disorganized and lacking in volunteers. As a result, they had been delayed for 15 minutes. Other matters delayed them a bit further, meaning that I’d be running my final leg closer to 8:00 a.m. than 7:30 a.m.
At this point, we were getting farther out on the Cape. Beaches and dunes were in evidence. I was tired but certainly much less so than during other Ragnar races, mostly in part of having had a good night sleep Thursday into Friday.
My final leg was 2.3 miles in Wellfleet. It ended up most definitely being the most lovely run of all three legs of Ragnar 2017 for me. With such a short distance, I ended up running fairly quickly and finished with an average pace of something like 9:29 per mile. The run started with some rolling hill with the ocean on my right. It ended with a third to a half mile of downhill running, which let me run quite quickly into the finish. What a blast! “Comin’ in hot” to finish my last leg of the relay was such fun. I passed off to Sandy and my running was done.
Van 2 still had a bit of running before we hit Provincetown. Aaron was schedule to run the last leg. Over the past three years, Josh had always run that leg and it was time for us to mix it up. Aaron kept up a good pace, even while running into a strong wind while carrying the American flag for the last four or so miles. Meanwhile, van 2 headed into P-town where we parked and went to meet up with van 1 and wait for Aaron to head in.
Josh and I headed down the road a little bit so that we could see when Aaron rounded the bend. He ran up the hill and the entire team joined together so that all twelve of us could cross the finish line together!
As always, Ragnar was an amazing time. Key to success is having an amazing team, and I’m lucky in this regard. How fortunate that the NE SpahtenNinjas took me on! I am already excited for our Ragnar Trail New England event next month and Ragnar Cape Cod 2018.
Communications: good tips on social media and email, and I even met Ragnar/Reebok representatives twice at the True Runner store to talk about the race. Even with all of that, I still felt like I didn’t have a 100% grasp on how the whole race worked. I would have liked to know minor things like that vans can design and give out their own magnets, and I was the only one in our team who knew that window markers were an option. It’s also unclear on if racers can sign up on their own and be paired with a team later. It’s tough for me to figure out how to use Ragnar discounts for this reason.
The Android app was absolutely awful and crashed every time I tried to access my leg route. After the crash it would not show all available races. Thankfully it was redesigned right before the race and worked fine after that. I still found it rather difficult to find information on the app. I did like the options to have the leg options on the app and to report a lost runner, so that I felt connected. I didn’t realize that there was a Notifications section, though, so I didn’t see any of them until the race was over.
A woman was attacked on one of the Ragnar legs after dark, but we weren’t told about it until a few days after the fact. I would have wanted to know so that we could have made additional security measures (more van support or tandem runners).
Venue and festival: I was in Van 2, so I didn’t see what the start line looked like, just the major exchange at Duxbury onward. The major exchanges were nice with vendors, samples, etc. The finish line had free food and drink, and I really liked the massage options. I tried the machine that put compression sleeves on the legs (not sure what it’s caused); I’m sure it helped with my recovery. We paid to park in a lot rather than using free parking to make sure we could make it to the finish line in time to meet our runner.
Every exchange had plenty of port-a-potties, and they were well stocked with toilet paper. A few exchanges’ recycling bins had filled up. One of the major exchanges had ticks (I believe it was Eastham), so I wish Ragnar had noticed or encouraged insect repellent. It was only an issue for those vans that parked near the grassy areas (like us) or put down sleeping bags.
Course and obstacles:
Nice variety of difficulty and length. This course offers something to runners of every level. I myself am a novice runner who had just recently started training for a half marathon, so I had the shorter/easier legs. Each Ragnar has a leg that is so difficult it gets its own medal.
Signage was fairly decent, but could stand improvement. A few intersections got confusing, and when there were straight courses for miles, it would help to have a ‘straight’ sign just for reassurance. Occasionally the signs would fall over or be positioned so they weren’t easily visible. There was also confusion on legs 22/23 because the course looped at an exchange, which caused us to go to the wrong exchange, and our runner had to wait 20 minutes for us to backtrack.
The signage was mostly for runners, with only a few van signs. We made the mistake of following a few runner signs, which caused problems. We used GPS to navigate but sometimes had problems entering the address.
Because there were so many teams, start times had to be staggered. (My understanding is that faster teams start later.) Our team was scheduled to start in the afternoon, which would have meant quite a late finish, but thankfully we were able to get an earlier start time. The start time affected which legs we had to run in the dark, which brings up the question of security. Ragnar is very big on safety in general, requiring vests on everyone during night hours even in the van, and lights on runners. However, in light of the attack in Onset, more measures should be taken during overnight legs, such as security along the way or tandem runners. I didn’t feel in danger during my particular leg, since it was through a mostly residential area, but I did pass a wooded area that was a bit creepy. There were numerous runners at first, and many vans passing, but eventually the road got quiet. It was at that point that I worried about safety or if I was on the right course. I also wish that Ragnar would provide flags to every van, not just every team. Van 1 forgot to give us the flags at the first exchange, and we got a penalty.
The last leg (36) needs on-course water support. It’s a long way to without van support (9.62 miles), and even though we found a way to do a quick water drop, our runner got so desperate he grabbed an abandoned water bottle by the side of the road. It was great to meet our final runner at the finish line and run through as a team. I didn’t understand why the last leg was so long, but this may be part of it, to give us some time to park and get into place.
Swag and awards: Very nice! The medals are clever; they are nice on their own, but when put together as a team, they spell out a message. I also like the shirt, and unlike most that I pack away, I will wear mine again. I don’t recall for sure at this point, but I believe there was some confusion on the sizing (unisex or men/women specific).
Overall: This was a fantastic race, and I can’t wait to do one again! I never imagine I’d have so much fun running multiple times, including in the middle of the night, on scarcely any sleep. There was such a sense of camaraderie and fun! I hadn’t met any of my van mates before the race, but this is all about making friends. I loved meeting new people, seeing all the supportive spectators and volunteers, and getting our van tagged with magnets.
This was my second year doing this race and my second time in Van #1. I was runner #1 which was a fun experience to start the race and to be one of the “major” exchanges.
We had an early start, 5:15 am. When we arrived at that start time there was not a lot of directions or sign from where we parked so it was a little confusing to figure out where to register and watch the safety video. Once registered everything went smoothly.
For the most part the course was marked well enough but it would have been nice to have a couple more “straight” signs at intersections when running long distances without a turn. It was a little unsettling to not know if you missed something (for slower runners like me). Also, I found that the Exchange addresses provided didn’t always get us quite to where we needed to be. It would be nice to have better coordinates to use in case we can’t always follow the van directions exactly.
I was happy to see that the shuttle nightmare from the previous year had been addressed. I never saw any teams waiting for a shuttle or missing their finish due to a backlog.
Overall, Ragnar Relay is one of my favorite events and I will definitely be back for Cape Cod next year and maybe a few others too.
My third Ragnar Relay on Cape Cod.
My third year in Van #1 of team #nesninjas
This year, I ran as runner #5.
Once again, glowing reviews. Once again, very little bad to say. Once again, my hat is thrown in for the next year already. If they offered on the spot registration, I would have done so, immediately.
There is always room for improvement though. Our team was of average speed, but went out in the first 5am wave on Friday. As a result, we always felt “ahead” of the main pack, and more than a couple of times found ourselves at exchange points ahead of the Ragnar crew, who were still setting up or finding their feet. We knew what we were doing, but every now and then we felt like the volunteers didn’t quite know, yet.
We also had a couple of spots (specifically, exchange 26) that didn’t have it’s signage out when we arrived, which meant we pulled into Exchange 27 by mistake (it was visible from the road) – causing us to wait for our runner at the wrong exchange for 20+ minutes before figuring it out and back tracking.
BUT, those were easy to resolve problems, for sure. When we had parked in an incorrect spot, Ragnar were quick to message us before the police ticketed, and pre and post race communications are second to none.
As is typical of the event – another life changing, life affirming event that causes people to have serious “FOMO”. One of my favorite events, again.
See you in 2018!
This was my first Ragnar, and it was epic. I paid attention to the chatter on Facebook, and listened to the advice given by my amazing captain, Niki. Going into it, I had a good idea of what was going to happen: Van 1 starts early, all runners (1-6) run their respective legs while the others cheer them on, then hands off to Van 2 (runners 7-12). Repeat a few more times. And you get minimal sleep. Also, lots of shenanigans. I like to think of myself as a fairly experienced obstacle course race participant, but I have only completed a couple of 5k road races. Even with all of that knowledge and experience, you still don’t fully grasp what you are about to endure.
I was runner #4 (Van 1). My team had a start time of 6:15am. I am very happy that my captain suggested that Van 1 stay at a hotel near the start line, so that we may get as much sleep as possible before hand. It was also extremely helpful that we went to the Pre-Race Party at Reebok’s headquarters to get the check-in and safety briefing out of the way the night before, rather than the morning of. I just wish we, as a group, were able to get to the party earlier so that we might have been able to see what was offered outside for samples and gear. By the time we got there (about 8pm), most of it had closed down outside.
The festival area at the start line was much the same as what I saw at all of the other major exchanges; the same vendors, and very little food. Our captain was runner #1, and the rest of the runners in my van were Ragnar newbies. We got a crash course in trying to find the best places on course to stop to cheer her on and make it to the exchange point in time (plus trying to find some coffee!). Luckily, we accomplished our goals, and made it in time for runner #1 to hand off to runner #2. From there on we were golden.
I was nervous about keeping the pace I had initially given. I knew that I didn’t train for this event like I should have. However, I knew that I would keep putting one foot in front of the other until I was done, however fast that would be. I was happy that I kept within my time for the first two legs, and was slightly over pace for my last leg. Not having done a road race longer than 3 miles, I wasn’t sure about myself. But as I began to run, my nerves began to calm. I found my stride. It was great to see my van full of teammates drive past, ringing the cowbell and cheering me on. I got a little extra push when I was cheered on by fellow Spahtens on other teams. I loved seeing all of the familiar faces out there, either driving past, or at the exchange points. I truly felt like part of the Spahten family here.
I had met some of my vanmates prior to this, but only briefly. I think what made it work for us was the constant communication throughout the months, from registration until the end. It allowed us to get a feel for each other’s personalities prior to being crammed in a van together for 36ish hours. I have to thank my captain for that. She was excellent at disseminating the pertinent information, as well as making all twelve of us feel like a team. I wish we had more time to spend with the people of Van 2. The brief time we had together at the major exchange points didn’t allow for much interaction.
As for things specific to the way Ragnar put on the event: initially we were asked if we wanted a men’s/unisex shirt or a women’s shirt. It was later changed to all unisex shirts. However, not all of the sizes were updated. I ended up with a unisex shirt that was slightly larger than I wanted, although a very nice quality shirt that I will wear. The medals are fabulously made, and I love how they piece together. I was dismayed by the lack of etiquette of other runners, especially in the middle of the night when we were trying to get some sleep. I think there should have been more opportunities to discard recyclable items, rather than at just one exchange point (the bin was already overflowing when we got there). The bus situation, transporting participants from the free parking lot to the finish line and back, was unacceptable. Having that many people, and encouraging them all to park in the free lot so as to not overload the town with large vans, should have required more than just two school buses to be in operation. The wait time was on average 40-60 minutes ONE WAY. This caused many Van 2 participants to miss their last runner as they approached the finish line. We made it through 200(ish) miles together, and were not able to finish together. Also, the last runner was left unsupported by their teammates for the majority of their last leg, in quite warm temperatures, without Ragnar providing an additional water station. Once all 12 runners were reunited, and medals handed out, the options for food was highly inadequate. The “meal” ticket gave runners a handful of a “salad”. The chowder/soup had run out 3 hours earlier than when the festival area was slated to close. There should have been other options of food to be purchased, especially since the majority of us did not have our van nearby. Once we were ready to leave, there was only ONE school bus in operation to transport people to and from the free parking lot. This part needs to be changed for the future.
All in all, I had an excellent time. It was odd to complete a race and not be covered in mud and bruises, but I think I can handle it. I will be returning to Ragnar in the future. I highly recommend this to anyone!
I’ve run many road races in the past, but this was my first Ragnar, and overall I thought it was great.
As others have commented this is not your routine run, but pushes your boundries of endurance and skill.
While being an avid runner definately helps, your average runner can do great here.
As with most events that the Spahtens enjoy, this is all about the camraderie and friendship.
Going in I had a rough idea of what to expect, but was hoping to get in more sleep. Perhaps being the runner just past the trade off from Van1 to Van2 limited that, but each “break” only gave me no more than 2 hours of actual rest.
I knew at most half my teammates going in (all in Van1,) and got to know the others fairly well in the end.
I’ve never been to the Cape before, so that alone was an experience in beauty.
I always love running with views, and this race more than compensated.
Running for 3+ miles without a race marker telling you you’re going the right way can be nerve wracking.
Not as much interaction between the vans as I had hoped – were were practically two teams that just met three times for a brief period.
Prerace party was mainly for pickup and an exposure to the merchandisers.
Post race party was a letdown. About all you could buy was merchandise and beer. No food vendors other than the one supplier, who only handed you a single small bowl. No surprise that many teams came in and left quickly after taking a few pictures.
This is my second year back to Ragnar Cape Cod, this time as a Captain, and it is arguably the only road race I’ve ever actually enjoyed! It is a “must do” on my calendar against any RaceLocal event, and that should give you an idea of how strongly I love this event, as I’m known for my FOMM (Fear Of Missing Miles) and #200MilesOrBust in the RL series.
As the team captain, communication with Ragnar was amazing. A lot of e-mails. The captain’s meeting a few weeks before was incredibly informative. The website is always up to date with all the current information. Throughout the race there were text messages from headquarters coming to me about nighttime hours, parking, etc. I know every member doesn’t see this, but as a captain, I see and hear a LOT from Ragnar (but not too much), and it’s my duty to pass along all the information to my team. We set up a team group text to keep in touch. Everything went really well for us.
Venue & Festival-
The venue! A long winding route from Hull to Provincetown. Yea, it was awesome. We ran along the beach, through bike paths, sidewalks along main roads, on the shoulder of community roads, over bridges, through the woods, along the water, and so on. It’s absolutely gorgeous. Exchange points where everywhere from beach parking lots, to churches, to schools, and grocery store parking lots. A lot of exchange points changed this year, and all seemed to be for the better! There are really multiple festivals starting from the pre-party the night before at Reebok headquarters to the one at exchange 6 (where everyone from both vans will be) to the finish line festival. The festivals always had great music playing, the classic Ragnar arcs, tons of free samples from vendors, plenty of vendors to visit, their giant (arguably overpriced, but I always seem to splurge) merchandise tent, and so on. My only complaint about the festival is the finish line festival, and not necessarily the festival itself, but two components of it; 1. Ragnar encouraged teams to park at their designated free parking lot at the beach and take a shuttle to the monument. While this is completely acceptable and pretty standard form for many OCR and was a-ok for my van, they only had 2 busses shuttling, and we had a 40 minute wait to get on a bus, and later heard it was up to an hour not long after us (we shuttled over somewhere around 2pm). This caused some van 2 teams, who left their runner 12 on course to meet them at the finish, to completely miss their last runner coming in. This to me is just completely unacceptable. If you are going to encourage vans to park at the beach to free up parking in town for visitors, then you MUST be able to handle the amount of people who need to shuttle in a way that will not impact their race experience. Also, by 5pm, there was only 1 bus left shuttling, making the line to get back to the van to go home just as long. This all just left a bad taste in my mouth and makes me want to just pay for parking later, and care less about the tourists in town. The second negative hit on the finish line festival was the food. This was a miss for me last year too. This year they brought in B. Good, whose food was absolutely delicious and healthy, however the portion sizes were just too small and they ran out of chowder by 5pm when the festival ends at 8pm. Not cool. However, these are the only two things I have against the ENTIRE event!
Swag & Awards-
Is all pretty dang sweet! Each runner gets a T-shirt (more on this to follow), a decal (one of my favorite pieces of swag), and a medal that on the back is a piece of one of 12 which make a whole saying together. The medals are top quality and really amazing. Runner 10 after running the longest and hardest leg gets their own special medal at its completion; the “Wicked Hahd” leg medal. Last year the finisher’s shirts were gender specific tech shirts, however, after Reebok took over and put out a survey, they found that a cotton blend unisex was preferable. I don’t remember getting this survey, and I am not a fan of the unisex style, I do agree with doing away with the tech shirt (I have only worn mine once and not comfortably) and going with the blended cotton, which is incredibly soft. Thankfully, they do offer a full range of sizes, including XS, so I will likely wear this shirt! Oh, and swag for being Captain (which is not a job for the faint of heart) was a pair of Reebok One 3.0 cushions… I mean, that’s awesome!
Overall, this is truly an amazing race experience. You don’t have to be much of a runner to do this. Unless you’re looking to run competitively, most teams are there for the experience, and the running is just something you do. You support your teammates, you support other runners, and the camaraderie at this race is unlike any other race I’ve ever done. Here are 400 teams ranging from 4-12 people running almost 200 miles for FUN! But it really is fun. It’s crazy. You build a family out of your vanmates. You may be sitting here reading this thinking how is running at 3am on almost no sleep fun, but really, it is. Some of the best runs happen when you least expect it, including 11pm in the rain. You can’t explain it, but you’ll love it. All I know is that I’ll be back again next year and years after as long as I can keep my two legs moving steadily for anything close to a run!
They significantly altered the course to alleviate congestion from some previous transfer areas. My legs added more elevation and more miles. But it was a blast anyway, I mean, who in here doesn’t love a challenge.
Spending time with a great team is priceless. This is the race I look forward to above all others.
The overall Ragnar experience is by far greater than the sum of its parts! It is all about spending 36 hours with a wonderful group of friends.
Read a comprehensive review of Ragnar and enjoy lots of pictures on my blog: http://perseid85.blogspot.com/2016/05/ragnar-cape-cod-2016.html
In 2015 I spent the day of the race watching everyone’s updates and said that I will be there next year. I found a team and participated.
Ragnar is like no other event. It is hard to express in words. It is a complete experience and I can understand why people get hooked. This is a must do event even if you are “not a runner”. If you can tolerate running for a few miles a few times in a 24-36 hours span, you should do this event at least once to understand. It isn’t about the running. I am slow and had the longest total miles. That was a little over 4 hours of my 52 hour experience. It is the people, the comradeship, the support from teammates, friends and strangers, the random acts of kindness, and the shenanigans that happen between the start and finish line that make this a must do event!
As a non team captain communication directly from Ragnar was sparse but communication from my captain was spot on so I assume they were giving her all the information we needed. The course is like no other, I don’t even understand how your do course markings over a 200 mile course setting it up and breaking it down while still having a seamless transition throughout the day. All of my legs were well marked and easy to follow. Some of the exchanges were a little tight on parking but I think the issue is more that the lots are designed for normal size cars and not 12 person vans and the people driving and parking the vans are used to driving normal cars and didn’t have great judgment when parking.
Swag and medal was great. There were lots of free samples at the beginning and end and at some of the major exchanges.
My only gripe for the race and it was a big enough gripe that I had to mark down the venue festival was the shuttling from free parking. Teams were encouraged to park at the beach and be shuttled to the finish line to meet up with their last runner. There was only 2 busses and we waited at least 40 minutes to catch the shuttle. We know some teams were waiting over an hour and actually missed their last running coming in and the epic finish line crossing. If you want people to park in the free parking make sure you have enough shuttles to get them to the finish line in time.
I’m waking up from my long winter’s nap.
Wait, no; I’m waking up from my first sleep after doing Ragnar. Feels like the same thing.
The first thing that hit me this morning? I won’t be stuffed into a bus with my stinky teammates all day eating power bars, hoping we are finding the right exchange, and arguing over who gets to cuddle with Alfred…
And that immediately made me sad.
Ragnar was a blast, an absolute blast. A huge part of the credit of the experience goes to Nicole, Paul, Cathy, Wes, Bobby, Alfred and Sharkey McShark Face. We started our journey at 3am on Friday, said goodbye at 4pm on Saturday and squeezed a lot of memories in between.
Much like NES itself – with Ragnar, you come for the race. I suspect you come back for the people.
The race itself was awesome as well. For anyone reading this who hasn’t completed a Ragnar, you can’t not underestimate how tough it is to rough three times in 24 hours. Please train leading up to the event. I thought I did okay-ish, I was running 12-15 miles a week before the event and wow, it was hard (but do-able).
I would only take two issues with the actual course / event itself, one I don’t think Ragnar can do a thing about (but maybe they can):
1: Some of the legs have to be better marked, they just do. My third and final leg was around 5 miles, I was running at 3am, very tired. It would have been great to see additional course markings out there at night.
Ragnar people – as they do – took this one on themselves. People went and took their vans and, rather than sleeping, lit up four way intersections to make sure runners didn’t run down one by accident. Are you listening here, Ragnar? Put a marker here at those instead so those people can go sleep!
2: A couple exchange points were so small it’s a wonder vans fit at all. I wonder if there are better locations? Not knowing the area at all, I don’t know…we had one exchange where we were not going to get the van out. Period. We were blocked in and traffic flow had us blocked. Another Ragnar runner in another van spotted this (one of the vans blocking us) and made sure we got out. Ragnar may have secured the only areas possible for this, if there are bigger ones available…look! 🙂
I’m not going to mention the festival area, the medal, the post race stuff…none of that was what the race was for me. The festival of the race IS the race, to be in the moment. The whole thing is a festival.
Communication from our Captain was a 10. Ragnar itself wasn’t. The app they use is okay-ish, but don’t count on It everything to be super accurate, and don’t get super worked up when it is. This is a “just go with it” race.
I loved every moment of it. The only reason it isn’t getting a 10 is because there aren’t areas to rate the race on items like “all the feels.”
Find a team and do a Ragnar. You’ll feel alive.
I’ll have more to say in a Featured Review, but needless to say, my scoring reflects how good a job Ragnar do.
Putting on a 200 mile relay, with over 30 manned “exchanges”, course marking public roads and keeping everyone on track. They always nail it.
I had a really great time at this race, far more than I was expecting. The race was organized and a lot of fun. The trails were reasonably well marked, thought the Yellow and Red loops could have done with a bit more marking as it was easy to get off trail – in some places you’d go a good half mile before seeing a trail marker.
Swag was good, but they made a mess of the T-Shirts. Every team got a stack of random sized shirts. They tried to sort it out, thankfully, but I do wish they had it right in the first place. Medals were a multitool which was outstanding.
They also had a problem with the porta potties, but again, they came through and called an emergency crew out to clean them overnight. HUGE props to them for that!!
The festival area was great and they had a ton of great vendors. Would definitely do again!
This was my 2nd Ragnar CC event. Super organized, super fun.
I will continue to participate in this event!
I had no idea how much fun Ragnar was going to be when I registered for it. Staying up for a couple of days, driving a van all the way down the Cape, running three legs.
But it became one of my favorite events of the year – a must do, every time.