Q: How do You Create an Epic Ragnar Relay team?
A: Congrats! You’ve decided to captain a Ragnar Relay team. This will be one of the most rewarding experiences of a lifetimes (and your friends will love you too!) As a two-time Ragnar Relay captain, I’ve come up with a step-by-step guide for you to create the Ragnarlist team ever:
Step 1: Recruit the Forces
While finding 11 other excited runners sounds like a daunting task, it’s actually not as hard as you might think. Finding of 11 other runners isn’t your job; all you need to do is find 2-3 other people, and let the trickle-down effect take place. On my first Ragnar Relay Wasatch Back team, I had about 4 friends and 2 co-workers who were ready to join my crusade. Those people each brought in a friend and voila! Call it 7 degrees of Kevin Bacon, but it works. If you don’t have many friends who enjoy conquering awesome courses and celebrating in style, here are some other options:
- Check out the Facebook Event Page for the race you want to run. There’s always lots of posts from both teams looking for runners and runners looking for teams.
- Browse Facebook for comments on posts for runners looking for teams.
- Login to your My Ragnar page, and indicate that your team is looking for runners. Remember to pay attention to deadlines about adding runners to your team. Don’t wait until the last minute!
- Tweet to @RagnarRelay that you’re looking for teammates. We’ll retweet you, and there’s a chance a runner will see the tweet and contact you.
We also have a new option, for some of our races called The 6 Pack! Find 5 other crazies to join you in a van, and Ragnar will fill the other van with another 6-person team. See if the 6-Pack is available for your desired race here!
Step 2: Dealing with Drop Outs
Just accept it. Drop outs are inevitable. And when they do, your life will be easier with a game plan. When you’re still in the recruiting phase, see if you can get uncommitted runners to agree to be alternates. If alternates aren’t in your cards, here are some ideas:
- Ask that co-worker you always see in running gear.
- See if the cycling instructor at your gym is also a running enthusiast.
- Share the “Join My Team” card for your event on your Facebook wall and ask your friends to ask their friends if they can think of anyone.
- Keep checking the Facebook event page to find runners.
I have a friend who never commits to a Ragnar Relay team until 2 weeks prior to a race. While I don’t recommend that type of lack of commitment, those runners do exist and live to fill last minute spots.
Step 3: Get Communicating
With today’s varied communication options, getting on the same page is easier said than done. Once you decide on the mode of communication, however, getting your information out to the team is a piece of cake.
- Email – This is the way I have communicated with my team for my past two Ragnar Relays. Using my Gmail account, I created a Ragnar Team contact group and added the emails of my team. Then, whenever I needed to send out a team email, I just had to type in “Ragnar” instead of each individual email address. This is a good option because it allows you to attach word documents, pdf files, and excel spreadsheets for things like packing lists, Race Bibles, and pace calculators. It also allows teammates to have a choice of replying all or just to you for a little privacy.
- Using Facebook messenger offers one perk that email doesn’t – the ability to see if your message has been read. That way you know if Flaky Joe from your office is skipping out on reading your oh-so-important messages. Messenger also allows you to attach files now, so as long as your teammates are accomplished Facebook stalkers, it is a great way to communicate with your team.
- Voxer – Available on iOS, Android, and Windows platforms, Voxer is a live message recorder that is a fun way to stay in touch, especially during the race. You can have group Voxes where each van can be in on the action. Texting is a thing of the past – get Voxing!
Step 4: Get Everyone Pumped
If you’re lucky, you’ll have an excited team ready to rock ’n roll with no need for coaxing. Most teams, however, are a mish-mash of friends, co-workers, and friends of friends, so a little team promotion may be needed. In this case, here are a few ideas to get you going:
- Plan a Ragnar team barbeque or pasta dinner. This can be a low-key but fun way to get to know the people you’ll be spending 24+ stinky, sweaty, glorious hours with. You can also use this gathering to decide on a team name. Having a name means everyone can start getting costumes, props, signs, and stickers together, which is the best part about Ragnar Relays. Once your team is stoked about the theme, it’s easy to get pumped for other important things… like training.
- On that note, organize a team run. If you live close to at least a few members of your team, plan group runs once a month at a rotating location. If each team member choses a location close to them, more people are likely to participate.
- Send around your Ragnar race-specific YouTube videos. This is a great way to let everyone know what Ragnar is all about, especially new runners who have not ran a Ragnar Event before. Ragnar videos showcase all of the awesome runs, fun experiences, and crazy antics that go along with a Ragnar race.
- Check out Ragnar’s Facebook page and Instagram. We offer exciting stories, photos, and updates about your specific race. Incredible pictures of Ragnar races are posted there, along with contests and posts that you can get involved with, too. Ragnar’s Instagram page even gets me excited to train by asking me to post my favorite training photo of the week with #ragnartraining. A new winner is chosen and reposted with awe-inspiring training photos to really get you pumped.
Running a Ragnar Relay is an incredible experience that you and your teammates will never forget. Between running 200-miles(ish), sweating together in a van for 2 days, and laughing so hard your abs hurt, you may even experience a Ragover when it’s over. These tips should help get you going to create the most epically fun team possible, all while staying organized, excited, and informed. After you’ve formed your Ragnar Relay team, learn about an effective way to create a Ragnar Relay budget.