Where in the World is Ragnar?
By Robin Arzón
Most travelers who are also runners know that lacing up is the best way to absorb a new place. There is something about exploring a city on foot that allows you to revel in it. You might notice a facade, a
painting, a quaint shop, an alley, or a stoop that you would otherwise whiz by in a car or on a bike. In the countryside, on trails, your feet unearth the scents of fresh air, foliage, flowers, and greenery. Your quads power up hills and over tree trunks. Running gives us a pause button to take visual snapshots of the journey.
As I run my way through Europe in the coming weeks, this is the type of exploration that is driving me. I write from Berlin, Germany, where I came with the NYC Bridge Runners to run the Berlin Half Marathon. Running Berlin was much more than 13.1 miles. We traveled to meet our brother and sister crews from other countries – London’s Run Dem Crew, Berlin’s Graviteam, Paris Run Club, Copenhagen’s NBRO,
Zurich’s RC8K, Hong Kong Harbor Runners – who also converged on Berlin for the race.
Witnessing the expansiveness of running tribes on an international scale was just as exciting as observing hundreds of Ragnar teams during my first relay. Much like the Ragnar camaraderie, each group had it’s own style and flavor. It was inspiring to re-confirm that running bonds those from even the most distinct backgrounds. At the end of the day, it’s about committing to cross the finish line with
the collective energy of a team supporting you.
Exploring Berlin with my new international running family made me even more excited to run Cape Cod in May. The anticipation of the raw excitement and creativity that is unique to Ragnar is building. Now
imagine doing this with 11 teammates as part of an International Ragnar Relay? If our teams can traverse Southern California and the Florida Keys, we can race from Berlin to Prague, or Madrid to Valencia. An international Ragnar Race would give U.S. Ragnar teams a chance to explore on foot while simultaneously encouraging international running crews to find their Ragnar.
The drumbeat of a 24-hour running party in Cape Cod on May 11 will bring me home to the United States. Will I see you there?
Robin Arzón is a fitness writer living in New York City. She is the
voice behind SHUTUPANDRUN, a site for people who sweat with swagger.
Robin is training for Ragnar Cape Cod and a 50-mile ultra marathon.
Her motto is “Run Hard. Play Harder.” Follow Robin’s travels through
Europe at shutupandrun.tumblr.com and on Twitter @RobinNYC.