Ragnar Trail Relays presented by Salomon are a mix of running, camping, team bonding and quirky music festivals. And, despite what your first thoughts are when you hear “all-night trail running relay,” this event is made for anyone who is interested in trail running. Here’s what you need to know about Ragnar Trail relays:
It’s a Relay Race
Replace batons with a high five or a sweaty chest bump, and this relay works just like the one you ran in middle school with your three best friends or three classmates who you were forced to team up with. Ragnar Trail relays are the same concept. Runner one will run, then handoff to runner two, who will handoff to runner three until everyone on your team has run… three times.
It’s all on Trails
Think of the rock skipping you did as a kid, but on steroids. Ragnar Trail Relays take place on single track trails, wide dirt paths and everything in between. It’s a fun mix of running and hiking in some of the most breathtaking parts of the country.
You’ll Run Three Loops, But Not All Once
Your miles will add up, anywhere from 13 to 16 miles (double that on an ultra-team). But, you don’t run that distance all at once. You’ll run one loop, hand off to your teammate, relax for a few hours, then run again. All your teammates will run the same three loops, so you can compare notes after. The three loops are green (hard), yellow (harder) and red (really freakin’ hard). Runner 1 will start by running the green loop, Runner 2 will run the yellow, Runner 3 will run the red, then Runner 4 will start the order again by running green until everyone has completed all three loops.
It’s an Overnight Relay, Which Means You’ll Run in the Dark
Ragnar Trail Relays begin Friday morning and end sometime Saturday. And yes, you and your teammates will keep running through the night. (Teams typically take anywhere from 22 to 36 hours) As the sun sets on Friday night, runners turn on their headlamps and set off into the dark. And, it’s one of the best parts of the race. You’ll occasionally see other runners out on the trail, you’ll overcome your fear of the dark and you’ll fall in love with night running. Then, you’ll head back to the Ragnar Village for a very short nap before your next run.
The Party is in Ragnar Village
Yes, this is a running race. But, you won’t be running the whole time. You’ll spend most of your time in the Ragnar Village. The Ragnar Village has everything from your team campsite to partner tents to the bonfire and s’mores. While your seven teammates are running, you’ll have the chance to grab some food, buy Ragnar gear, watch a movie, hang out around the fire, catch a quick nap, cheer for other runners, grab a drink, fill up your water bottle, take part in small contests and enjoy the whole Ragnar Trail experience.
It’s Impossible Without a Team
What makes a Ragnar Trail relay unforgettable is the time you spend conquering this challenge with your (new or old) best friends and crossing the finish line together. It’s hard — but achievable. You’ll leave with an awesome medal to brag about your accomplishments and a million or more inside jokes.
It’s Impossible to Explain Until You’ve Done it
Sure, Ragnar Trail has been explained as “margaritaville in the mountains” (Julian Gonzalez Cruz) and “a GLORIOUS stinky, sweaty, hungry, sleep-deprived bonding experience” (Ellen Suarez), but there’s no way to quite explain a Ragnar Trail Relay until you try yourself. And even then, you may just say “Insane.”
Learn more about the running order below:
Find your next Ragnar Trail Relay here.