Chicago, meet your tough and rough race director Meredith

Meredith Tomorrow morning runners from across the Midwest, will take part in the Ragnar Relay Chicago. The next 24 – 36 hours will test the limits of each runner. At the end, when they look back, as Ragnarians, they will become the hero of their own life’s story. 200 miles to go and counting, we wish you luck!

But, just in case luck isn’t enough to help you conquer the course, there’ a woman by your side, from start to finish who will have your back. Meredith Dalenburg, our rough and tuff Ragnar race director, knows a thing or two about setting big goals. After all, she’s been working on a 200 mile course designed to knock your socks off! She’s worked hard and never batted an eyelash at what she hopes you’ll agree is an amazing experience. “The course from Madison to Chicago showcases some true Midwestern beauty with a little bit of everything!  There are some great trails, quaint towns, rolling hills, and awesome Lake Michigan views.  I hope the many locals and visitors from out of town love every mile!”

We hope so too. And, we’re pretty confident that Ragnar runners in Chicago will know how to have a good time. After all, the race itself wouldn’t be nearly as fun without that special breed of adventurous runner that makes running at 3:00 am, under that stars, in a batman costume, seem like a great (and perfectly normal) idea. Just ask your race director, “I may have lived all over, from the East Coast to Utah, but I grew up as a Midwest girl.  And I may be a little biased, but those Midwesterners are the best around!  Chicago runners are some of the friendliest and most helpful people I’ve worked with.   I guarantee you will all leave this race happy from not only conquering 200ish miles, but from the people you’ve encountered along the way.” We couldn’t agree more.


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Join the Ragnar Team at Sports Basement!

Join the Ragnar Team at Sports Basement!
Get ready for the Ragnar Trail Tahoe – CA presented by Salomon with the experts at Sports Basement. They’ll be hosting an informative training run at their Presidio location on Thursday, June 6th from 6:00pm – 8:00pm. Check it out:

When: Thursday, June 6th  6:00 – 8:00pm

Where: Sports Basement Presidio

Details: We’ll do a casual run through the trails of the Presidio for approximately 5-7 miles. We’ll begin at Sports Basement, run up to the Golden Gate Bridge and along the Coastal Trail looping back through the park to Sports Basement. After the run, we’ll hold a 101 Info Session to explain How It Works and answer any questions you have about the Ragnar Trail Relay Series.

SWAG: Sports Basement and Salomon will give have a special SWAG raffle after the run. Everyone who attends will have a chance to win some great prizes!

Whether you’re already signed up or still thinking about it, this is the perfect chance to meet other runners and learn about the brand new Ragnar Trail Relay Series. There’s still time to sign up, but hurry – Registration ends June 20th!

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Operation Giveback

Running is a strange endeavor.  To friends and family members, co-workers and acquaintances that  do not run, their running friends might appear slightly “off.”  After all, we give up our early mornings to punish ourselves, while others sleep in.  We’re out in the heat or the cold; running at odd hours and keeping track of our progress diligently.  At first glance – it can even appear selfish.  After all, most of us are not winning races, collecting cash from sponsor endorsements or even basking in the glow like celebrities.   But, when you look a little closer, you often find runners, even teams that are running to Give Back.

That’s exactly what Retired US Army Command Sergeant Major (CSM), and Operation Giveback Founder Jose Garcia-Aponte and his teammates are doing.  They may be logging miles and getting in shape. But, they have a bigger goal in mind.

Their mission is to raise awareness and resources in order to buy Christmas gifts for kids of our Fallen Heroes and do their best to bring some smiles back to some of the orphans of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars. Jose’s goal for 2013 to buy Christmas presents for 100 Gold Star family members and 227 Fallen Hero’s children.

This year, Operation Giveback will have a team at the Wasatch Back and two teams at Key West and D.C. Their teams consist of Wounded Warriors, Retired and Active duty military, Gold Star family members and volunteers who want to help with the cause.

Jose and his wife Maribel work hard to help others in need.  Their philosophy is that “no one person reaches the top by himself or herself, but it is rather a collection of efforts, ideas and thoughts that bring any worthwhile endeavor to fruition.”  Perhaps that is why Ragnar seemed like the perfect mix of challenge and teamwork for their cause.  Running 200 miles is intense.  But no one faces it alone.

Jose also uses Ragnar as training for the Wounded Warriors, “so they can push themselves out of their comfort zone of their ‘new normal,’ which could be missing a part of their leg, or their whole leg, TBI or PTSD.”

He also hopes that Operation Giveback will inspire other Ragnar runners to push out of their personal comfort zones. We’re pretty inspired! What about you?

When you see Jose and his team on the course, be sure to thank them for their service as well as their continuing efforts to enrich the lives of those in need.   Stand beside them, offer a drink of water or a high five.  And, remember that sacrificing your time for a run can make a difference in someone’s life – including your own.

OGB Mission Statement: To Raise awareness and resources for our Wounded Warriors, their families and the children of our FALLEN HEROES.

If you would like to help Operation Giveback, please visit the following link for donations:

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You Might Be A Ragnarian If…

  1. You wake up in the middle of the night in a sweat wondering where your runner is.
  2. You text your family and friends to tell them you have 1 mile to go on every run.
  3. You count your kills during every race.
  4. White 12 passenger vans look naked to you.
  5. You own an extensive collection of head lamps, blinking tail lights and reflective vests.
  6. You pack your gym clothes in ziplock bags with dryer sheets.
  7. You look for blue and yellow route markers during races.
  8. You train with a slap bracelet on.
  9. You plan your vacation time around Ragnar races.
  10. And finally… This symbol is on almost everything you own:


Not sure what any of this means? Then it’s time to grab 11 friends and sign up! Choose your Ragnar Relay here.

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Team Jessica is Running in Honor of Jessica Rekos

Team Jessica is running in honor of Jessica Rekos, one of the 6-year-old victims of the Sandy Hook Elementary School shootings. Many of our team members grew up in Newtown with Jessica’s parents, Rich and Krista. We all graduated high school in the same class and despite the fact that many of our closest high school friends scattered throughout the country, Rich and Krista decided to keep Newtown as their home. Of our close circle of high school friends, Jessica was the first child – so she holds a very special place in all our hearts. The events of 12/14 caused many of us to be drawn closer to our town and to rally to the support of our lifelong friends as they deal with this unimaginable tragedy.




The idea to run the Cape Cod Ragnar Relay was born out of the fact that the Rekos family had vacationed on the Cape the previous summer – and Jessica loved it. She had made her parents promise to take her there on vacation every summer, and who were they to argue? In Krista’s own words, her baby girl “ruled the roost” – so summer vacations in Cape Cod it would be. And while Jessica can’t enjoy the Cape the same way that she did last summer, it is the intention of Team Jessica to bring her there in spirit as we run the race in her honor.

Our fundraising effort is to help raise awareness for another love of Jessica’s – whales. We are currently working with various marine mammal institutions and advocacy groups on the Cape to find and establish an appropriate way to memorialize Jessica in a meaningful way. We hope that announcement can be made prior to the race – and we are inching closer to a decision in this regard, one that we are very excited about.

We have a team that is a healthy mix of experienced competitive runners and absolute novices. Friends from high school and their wives and husbands. Friends we’ve made through our jobs and walks of life other than Newtown. But we are most proud to have Jessica’s daddy Rich as a member of our team. Our sole intention is to run for our friends, their little girl and her memory.

Anybody seeking information on our cause can visit for more information, and any member of our team can be contacted and will either help you or advise you on the proper person to speak with. We would be very interested in speaking with people who will have information about how we can advance our fundraising efforts and spread our story and Jessica’s story to the other teams and the locals as they cheer us on.

Thank you very much.

Jason McCallum
Team Jessica Rekos

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