Some of the best memories start as the worst times. But that only makes us stronger. Mike Preston and his two teammates, Patrick Hanna and Meesh Preston, made their love for Reebok Ragnar Relay and their core group of teammates permanent by getting the Ragnar mask in ink. Mike explains how the Ragnar mask has gone from an emblem to a lifestyle for him and his team:
RR: How many Ragnars have you run together?
Mike: We have run two Ragnars (Ragnar Reach The Beach and Reebok Ragnar Cape Cod), with our third (a return trip to RTB). With the exception of one person, our team has maintained a core group of 11…and our team of 12 runners remained the same for both Ragnars in 2016.
RR: What does the Ragnar symbol mean to you?
Mike: Ragnars are no joke, and takes some serious grit and determination to do them. They are not for the faint of heart. To me, the Ragnar symbol embodies that strength of will…that courage to step into the van, knowing full well, that there will be moments that threaten to break you.
RR: What was your Ragnar “ahhh” moment?
Mike: Running at night, cheering on friends? I love a difficult challenge. Longest leg? Lots of hills? Run at 1:00 in the morning? Oh, and you want me to drive the van too? Give it to me…give it all to me. Arriving at “Tent City” at 2:00 in the morning for our first Reach The Beach Ragnar, and finding all the tents occupied, I found myself wildly unprepared for the night. I balled up a sweatshirt for a pillow, used my beach towel as a blanket, and found an empty spot in the wood chips of a playground, and I curled up to get some sleep. I awoke an hour and a half later with my teeth chattering as temperatures had dropped to about 45 degrees. I woke up and walked around to try and warm up, visiting the firemen volunteering and making breakfast, buying the worst cup of hot chocolate that I’ve ever had. I was miserable, but when all was said and done, it was part of the memorable experience. Walking back to the van after some post- race festivities, I looked back at it all, including that cold episode in the wood chips, and I had a sense of pride…thinking to myself “God damn right I did that.”
RR: How has Ragnar changed your life?
Mike: Ragnar is family, and the bonds of friendship formed from the experience with the other people on our team has left long-standing impressions. They have my back on long hot stretches of road, and they know that when they are out pounding the pavement, they will find me around one of those corners, making noise and cheering them on.
RR: Why did you decide to get inked?
Mike: I have a couple of other tattoos, but a long time ago, I’d decided that I was done. I didn’t have any desire to get more. As soon as someone floated the idea, even if it may have been a passing joke, of everyone on the team getting a Ragnar tattoo, I jumped on it. I love running, and the Ragnar experience has been one of my favorite challenges. This isn’t just a tattoo of the Ragnar logo, it is a mark of defiance that at age 45, old age isn’t taking me without a fight. Try and keep up kids, I’m going for a long run.
Read about other’s Ragnar ink in Ragnar Inked: 10 Ragnars and 1 Tattoo Later with Kevin Johnk.