Ragnar Relay Colorado runners – get ready! You’re about to embark on a journey that will take you through some serious Rocky Mountain Goodness. Overnight running under the stars, traversing Vail Pass and partying in style – this is going to be a good day!
You might be nervous about the running. You might be worried about getting lost, too. But don’t fret, Ragnar Nation. There’s a little lady behind the scenes who’s here to make sure your team rocks this course and finishes in a blaze of glory. Rachel Petersen is many things: tough, serious, organized, and a native Coloradoan. And, lucky you, you’re just her type! “I LOVE Coloradans! These runners are the best; they’re from my home! It doesn’t get much better than being a runner born and bred in Colorado. I am so lucky to live and work in Utah and still get to put on a race for my hometown runners!”
Rachel is pretty passionate about her runners. And while she’s working hard to make sure that everything goes right, she has a secret weapon. Stationed along the course is a legion of her family members dedicated to supporting both the Ragnar Relay Colorado runners – and their race director. And if you ask them what brought them out in the middle of the night to work with her, you might just get a belly full of warm fuzzies. Meet the cast and crew of the Ragnar Relay Colorado SWAT team that’s keeping it all in the family:
Rachel’s Dad, “Pa”, is volunteering as a Course Manager. He’ll be out making sure runners are safe and everything is running smoothly. This will be his 9th time working behind the scenes as a SWAT volunteer for Ragnar. When we asked Pa what it was that convinced him to give up his sleep and work with Rachel, he said, “Rachel owns the characteristic of tenacity. She will finish any task, job, event, or goal with grace and detail whether she likes it or not. Rachel is the finisher and I am lucky/blessed to know her and be in her presence.” For him, working with his daughter is a gift. As he puts it, “Rachel cares about people and brings the best out of them.”
You’ll meet her brother Blake, or “Orange Ragnar Man”, announcing at the starting line and finish line. Ask him to do a flip, seriously. He might just do it. Rachel can attest, “He sure loves that spandex orange suit and wears it around the house for fun.” Certified as a Personal trainer, the Blake even owns his own gym in Utah. (We can neither confirm nor deny whether or not he wears the orange suit to work.) “The Ragnar Relay Colorado has become a bit of a family affair. Honestly when was the last time anyone got to hang out with their family, sweaty, sleep deprived and at high altitude?? It’s awesome and coming to see such a beautiful race and work with my sister is a blast!” Blake goes on to describe his sister’s best traits, “One thing I admire about Rachel is her organizational skills. No seriously, she knows where every single cone, sign, and cop is (or is supposed to be) over a 200 mile stretch of wilderness and I’ve always been amazed at her ability to “just know” everything.”
Rachel’s sister Cara will be keeping runners hydrated as she volunteers as the Water Station Manager. This task will keep Cara on her toes, but keeping Ragnar runners hydrated is an important task. Rachel trusts her sister who, according to Rachel is “always willing to do anything to help her sister”, and knows she will do a good job. Cara’s pretty stoked to be out there too. She’s volunteered at Raganr events before, but helping her sister is an even better deal. “I admire Rachel for a lot of reasons: her focus on her goals, her sense of responsibility, her active lifestyle to name a few”.
Staying always one step ahead, Rachel’s husband Kyle and his brother Chal will be doing the heavy lifting as Course Set Up. These guys will be racing ahead of the runners, making sure everything is set up, all the directions are visible, and teams have all they need when they get there. You won’t see them during the race, as they will be just ahead of teams the whole time (unless your team catches up to them, which will result in being held). But you can always extend a “virtual high five” to these two volunteers.
The last volunteer, and probably the one member of Rachel’s family that will be the most involved, is a Ragnar race director in training. She hasn’t made her real world debut yet, but this little “Shutterfly” will be with Rachel every step of the way. We can’t wait to meet her as she joins Rachel and Kyle’s family after (we hope) each runner makes their way to the finish line.
Who else could you count on to love you unconditionally like your dad? Or keep you honest, like your brother? Or support your ambitions, like your husband? When it comes to pulling off a 200 mile overnight running relay, for this Race Director, it’s all in the family!