Rag-nar? Ragner? Ranger? …The heck? Welcome to Utah. Between the unusual weather shifts, the drifting drivers on the interstate, the “suggested” speed limits and the deep, deep love of diet sodas, the culture-shock in our valley comes with a few colloquialisms. Fer sure. And rest assured you’ve noticed that strange little symbol on people’s SUV’s at the Costco parking lot a few times and wondered…what is it? Or, you’ve heard people wax-ecstatic about their buddy Ragnar and you just figured, “Oh Utahns have some unique names.” No, it’s OK. The thing is, it’s a part of people’s history at this point, so the rumors you’ll hear might get a little weird. So, allow us to dispel 3 myths you shouldn’t believe about Reebok Ragnar Wasatch Back:
First, it’s not a sticker company
It may very well have contributed to an economic boom in the vinyl sticker industry 10 years ago, yes. (This fact has not been fact-checked.) But, Ragnar is not a sticker company. Your first encounter with Ragnar, or a Ragnarian (ie a Ragnar runner) is probably from the sticker(s) on their vehicles. Ragnar Wasatch Back is a 12 person relay. On race day, teams of 12 (sometimes ultra teams of 6) pile into large vans and drive the entire course supporting their runners. Each team has two race vehicles. But at the end of the race, every runner takes home a sticker to place on their personal car. It’s not just a sticker. It’s a badge of honor. It’s a rite of passage. It doesn’t go on your water bottle or your laptop. People wreck their cars and cry about that sticker. People keep cars longer for that sticker. Maybe that sounds dramatic. But, after 24 to 36 hours in a van bonding with people, triumphing over 3 mountain passes…that sticker? It gets heavy.
It’s not impossible to get into
There’s always that one bucket-list event that you just can’t get into. It sells out, or it’s impossible to get in once it opens, or the lottery is stacked against you. This is not that race. It gets close! But, it’s not that race. We do cap the event to make sure that the course isn’t too jam-packed and that everyone has a good time. However, you can still get in. How? First, if it’s your first year, you can always join a team looking for extra runners. No, really. Keeping the band together can be a full-time job. People lose runners all the time. Plus, it’s a great way to make new friends in Salt Lake! Check out the Find a Runner Tool and discover teams looking for additional runners. You can also try the 6-pack option; bring half a team together and let us match you with 6 other runners.
You don’t have to run the entire 200 miles yourself
Look, we get it. This is Utah and there are a lot of people eyeing those semi-pro sponsorship spots. This is not an ultra-endurance event. (There is an ultra-category if you have 5 other super tough friends that want to make the race twice as challenging though.) Since it is a relay race, only one runner hits the course at a time. They run their “leg” of the course and hand off the baton (er, wrist bracelet) at the exchange. Every runner runs 3 legs total. The race does not stop when the sun sets; you run through the night. Easy right? Not so fast. You still cover actual, real life mountain passes. (Utah, remember?) Plus, it’s an adventure. You will be route finding with your van and teammates when you’re not running. You’ll be cheering and partying and staying up late and then, before you know it, you’ll be running again!
It’s really like nothing else you’ve experienced. And, it will be challenging. And, memorable. And you may even stop and say, “I can’t believe we’re doing this.” And, then, when you’re running into the finish line, with your arms held high, and you see your teammates beside you? You’ll probably catch your breath, look around and say, “Really, I can’t believe we just did that!”