Why do we run Ragnar Relay as an Ultra team? The answer is somewhat simple:
Because we want to.
Because we know we can.
Because we have fun doing it.
As runners, we constantly want more (or in terms of our pace/time, less), and continue to pursue the next big goal. Once we accomplish one goal, whether it be finishing our first 5K, completing a marathon, or running a Ragnar Relay, we already have our eye on the next goal. When I crossed the finish line of my first Ragnar Relay at Ragar- Northwest Passage I knew I wanted to, and would someday, run an Ultrarelay. When I received an email from a teammate asking if we wanted to run Ragnar Relay – Wasatch Back as an Ultra team, I didn’t even hesitate.. well at least not at first,to say yes.
Without a doubt, running a relay as an Ultra team can be an overwhelming, frightening concept to grasp, but I guarantee you that with a desire to do it, a commitment to have fun, and 5 supportive, encouraging, and FUN teammates, you will cross the finish line with an amazing sense of accomplishment, unforgettable memories, and a desire to do it again.
Below are 5 things to remember & take into consideration to ensure you have a phenomenal experience as you take on your first Ultra relay:
1. Everyone plays a key role on the team: whether you run a 6:30 pace or a 10:00 minute pace, are running the most miles or the least, or have the hardest legs or the easiest legs, each and every runner plays a huge part in the success of the team. It is really important to constantly remember that without the hard work of the entire team, each runner doing their part, it would not be possible to make it the 200 miles to the finish line.
2. Running 3 legs vs. 6 legs: There are two ways to run an Ultra relay, you can run 2 legs back-to-back for a total of 3 longer runs (i.e leg 1 & 2) or you can run every 6 legs (i.e. 1, 7, 13 etc), for 6 shorter runs. There are pros and cons to each option, and that is something you and your team need to discuss. For me personally, it is easier to wrap my mind around 6-10Ks than 3-half marathons. But with that being said, other teams enjoy having more rest in between legs. Whichever way your team decides on, focus on one run at at a time.
3. There is no “I” or “Me” in TEAM: Running an Ultra relay requires determination, dedication, heart, and teamwork, leaving no room for being self-focused. Yes, when you are running, it is about you, how you are feeling, your pace, etc, but as soon as your run is complete, its all about being a team player and doing what is in the best interest of the team as a whole. Too much focus on one’s self draws from the energy of the team as a whole.
4. The 7th teammate: The Driver: I am a firm believer that having a driver is crucial. When running an Ultrarelay you are constantly running, cheering, eating, running, cheering, eating…it is SO nice to not have to worry about navigating from one exchange to next. With that being said, the driver is truly an additional teammate, so its important to have someone who embraces their role as a teammate and is out there to have FUN like the rest of you.
5. It’s all about having FUN: I’m not sure how many times I have already used the word “fun,” but I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, it really is all about having FUN! People will get tired, hungry, annoyed, and exhausted, and the only thing that keeps the energy and moral up is constantly having FUN! When asked for advice from another Ultra runner in Colorado, I said, “Have fun! And if at any point you are not having fun, have fun!” Attitude truly is everything! Keep laughing, dancing, cheering, cowbelling, and rocking the glowsticks, and I promise that you will have a great experience running an Ultra relay.
If you have ever wanted to run an Ultrarelay, now is the time! Find 5 dedicated, determined, supportive, FUN teammates and DO IT! I promise it will be an unforgettable experience! Find your next Ragnar Relay!