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What to pack for a Ragnar Relay Race

by Meghann on January 5, 2012

…or at least what I hope you’re suppose to pack. πŸ˜‰

For those who aren’t sure what a Ragnar Relay is, it’s a 12 person (or 6 if you want to make it an ultra) relay race that covers XXX miles in XX hours. The race we’re doing starts in Miami at 9:00am on Friday morning and ends in Key West sometime Saturday afternoon.


The race is divided into 36 separate legs, with each runner covering three legs of the race (or roughly 20 or so miles) over the span of the 2 days. A runner from each team must be on the course at all times, so you could end up running a leg at any stretch of the night or day.

Derek and I are the 10th and 12th runners for our team. Since the race is a straight shot from Miami to Key West (with minimal elevation changes on bridges) our legs are pretty decent.


Leg10RagnarRelayKeyWest.png Leg22RagnarRelayKeyWest.png Leg24RagnarRelayKeyWest.png


Leg12RagnarKeyWest.png Leg24RagnarKeyWest.png Leg36RagnarKeyWest.png

We’re also lucky that we’re not running terribly crazy hours for the night legs. Derek is predicted to run his second leg at 4:30am and I’m scheduled for 5:30am. Those hours are just fine with me!

So basically, this isn’t your traditional race. When you’re not running, you’re in a van with 5 of your newest closet friends (our team has two vans). I’ve heard it gets smelly and I’ve heard it gets crazy, but I’ve also heard it’s the best time you’ll ever have in your life during a race. Count me IN!

Since this isn’t your traditional race, all the traditional methods of packing and preparing for the race go out the window. You will not get a full 8-hr stretch of sleep before you’re run, you will not be able to go through your regular coffee/peanut butter bagel/hour long bathroom break before you take off, and that ‘perfect race day outfit’ is only going to get your through one leg.


There’s also limited space in the van, so everything you pack is crucial. I was told to pack light and only bring the essentials. What are the essentials for a 2 day relay race? Pshh… I have no idea. But thanks to some of your comments and advice from a few friends, I had a plan of attack to figure that out.


First up: Clothes!

Three legs = Three running outfits


My first plan was to just bring one outfit and wear it all three legs. That was quickly vetoed after I was told to pack a change of clothes for each leg (no one wants to sit next to a stinky person still in their running clothes!) instead.

Another good tip I received was separating the outfits into three separate ziploc bags. That way I can easily grab what I need without digging around my suit case and I have something to place the smelly clothes back in once I’m done.


Each ziploc contains:

  • Socks
  • Shorts
  • Tank top
  • Sports bra
  • headband

Besides running clothes, I also have a pair of comfy pants and shirts for my down time between legs.


As well as a separate section of clothes for once we get to Key West (we’re staying until Tuesday) and toiletries.


Running Gear

All of the essentials are needed, plus a few relay extras.


  • Ragnar bible (I was in charge of printing up all the documents for exchange points, predicted time, hotel info, etc. for Van 2)
  • Towel
  • Baby wipes (for a quick post-run wipe down)
  • Road ID
  • SpiBelt
  • Ipod (freshly loaded with a new Ragnar playlist)
  • Reflective vest with blinking light ( for night legs <- thanks Dee!)
  • Headlamp
  • Garmin
  • Running shoes
  • Sunglasses



One of our van-mates already volunteered to bring the water and gatorade, another volunteered to bring the cooler, and Derek and I volunteered to bring some snacks. It’s my understanding that the Ragner Relay is just a giant road trip full of road trip eats. We already have plans to stop for meals along the way, but roadtrip is complete without snacks (especially with a van full of hungry runners).


We’re bringing

  • Bread
  • Peanut butter
  • Jalapeno pretzel pieces (Derek’s favorite)
  • Blue corn chips
  • Trail Mix
  • Apples
  • Carrot sticks (unpictured)
  • Hummus (unpictured)
  • Yogurt (unpictured)  

I followed the same trail mix recipe my dad would always make when we were younger (peanuts, m&ms, raisins, and sunflower seeds), but added a jar cashews and took advantage of the post-holiday discounted m&ms by purchasing and using pretzel m&ms and almond m&ms in the mix.


Derek had two big bowlfuls. I think he approved.


I’ve been warned that I won’t sleep more than an hour this weekend. Good thing I can sleep anywhere. I’m like a little kid – put me in a car more an hour and I’m out like a light.


The blanket is for the van and the air mattress is for the hotel once we get to Key West. There will be 12 runners distributed in 2 rooms on Saturday night – it shall me interesting.


Still need to pack this one.


But here’s what I know I need to bring

  • Laptop
  • iPad
  • Cameras
  • Multiple chargers
  • Converter outlet for the van
  • Runner’s World


Umm… so much for trying to pack light. Good thing we have a 15 person van to load up in.


I’m sure i’m forgetting something, but we can always pick stuff up on the road. And it does look like a lot when you put it all together (I blame the gigantic air mattress), but hopefully we’ll make it work when we pack the van up at 5:30am (!) tomorrow morning.

Is there anything I’m forgetting?

This afternoon was crazy. I spent the morning working, so I could leave the house around 2:00 to run all of our errands, but didn’t end up leaving until three. We rushed around town bringing Maddie to the doggie hotel, going to the bank, buying supplies for the weekend, etc. etc. and I somehow forgot to pack a granola bar to snack on along the way.

I left Target needing food and ended up breaking open the containers of peanuts and cashew to stop crazy-hungry Meghann from making an appearance.


Much better.

Derek helped with dinner tonight. We ended up chopping up all the vegetables we had in the fridge and coating them with cumin and chili powder. The veggies went on the griddle with some chicken sausage we had and also needed to eat.


Have I mentioned we love our new griddle? Part awesome pancake maker/ part hibatchi/ part awesome. πŸ˜‰

I made two fajitas with my portion of the veggies and sausage, plus some avocado.



Stole two of Derek’s stocking Reeses for dessert.


Our alarms are set for 4:45am! Now, that time feels like a real race wake-up time, too bad my first leg won’t be until sometime mid-afternoon! :/

Wish us luck!

1 Britt @ Run with Britt January 5, 2012 at 9:31 pm

That race sounds like a blast. I couldn’t imagine anything better than a relay race with my best friends. Let the good times roll!
Britt @ Run with Britt recently posted..Down, But Not Out.

2 Mary @ food and fun on the run January 5, 2012 at 9:33 pm

Can’t wait to see how it goes! I would love to run Ragnar sometime! Good Luck!

3 Kristy @ KristyRuns January 5, 2012 at 9:34 pm

Wow! Looks completely insane…but that just means it’s going to be awesome!!!!
Kristy @ KristyRuns recently posted..A Lifestyle

4 Karolina January 5, 2012 at 9:40 pm

WOW! What a crazy race, and I’m sure it’s quite an adventure. I’m excited to hear about it along the way.
Karolina recently posted..Wellness Wednesday: {Stress Management Part 1- healthy coping}

5 Katie January 5, 2012 at 9:47 pm

I had no idea what you’ve been talking about when you’ve mentioned the Ragnar Race in your blog, but it sounds so awesome!!! I want to do it! Good luck, have fun, I’m already following the twitter feed, so I’m excited to follow it!
Katie recently posted..Setting Goals and My First 5k

6 Callie @ The Wannabe Athlete January 5, 2012 at 9:51 pm

Hope you don’t mind sitting next to a smelly runner – Nate usually wears the same clothes for his legs! πŸ™‚ Nate is busy packing over here. You guys are going to have so much fun!
Callie @ The Wannabe Athlete recently posted..Goals for 2012

7 Army Amy* January 5, 2012 at 9:56 pm

Good luck! I’m sure y’all will do great and have fun, and if nothing else, it will be interesting!*
Army Amy* recently posted..Three Things Thursday

8 Kate January 5, 2012 at 10:00 pm

That sounds really painful, but really fun at the same time! Definitely an interesting race experience. I can’t wait to hear about it!
Kate recently posted..WIAW (When I Was Upping My Protein)

9 Shelley@ Salmon and Sandwiches January 5, 2012 at 10:05 pm

Have fun!! Ragnar is SUCH an awesome experience! Can’t wait to hear all about it!
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10 Queenie January 5, 2012 at 10:14 pm

I have done 3 ragnar races, and I would strongly recommend bringing THE STICK. I have brought mine for all three races and not only have I used it endlessly, all of my van-mates wanted to use it, too. You’ll want it before your third leg. Have fun!
Queenie recently posted..2011 in Review

11 Lisa (bakebikeblog) January 5, 2012 at 10:17 pm

LOVE the sound of this event! What fun!!!
Lisa (bakebikeblog) recently posted..Crispy duck and noodle salad & nesting

12 Victoria (District Chocoholic) January 5, 2012 at 10:19 pm

Have an awesome race! Also, if I were in one of those vans, I’d want access to a TON of febreeze. Nonstop.
Victoria (District Chocoholic) recently posted..Cranberry Bark: Two Types of Chocolate and Two Types of Cranberry

13 Colleen January 5, 2012 at 10:20 pm

It actually sounds fun! Something I would love to do. No suggestions for packing. Have fun and enjoy every minute.

14 Cate January 5, 2012 at 10:41 pm

Wow what a unique event- sounds like quite an adventure!
have fun πŸ™‚ I look forward to the recap!
Cate recently posted..A Look Back at 2011 and Looking Forward to 2012

15 Christine @ BookishlyB January 5, 2012 at 11:12 pm

This sounds so fun! I was asked to join a team once, but I was too scared about slowing everyone down. You guys are either going to party hard at the end or crash hard… or both πŸ˜‰
Christine @ BookishlyB recently posted..The Cookbook Challenge

16 Laura January 5, 2012 at 11:17 pm

Good luck! Can’t wait to read your recap. I’m running Ragnar and H2C this summer.
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17 Megan S January 5, 2012 at 11:28 pm

What a cool adventure and so fun to do as a couple! Have fun, can’t wait to hear about it:)
Megan S recently posted..Squash you like a fat bug on the sidewalk…

18 Leila - Get Fit Girls January 6, 2012 at 12:15 am

Wow what a race! Good luck, I hope you have a fantastic time!
Leila – Get Fit Girls recently posted..Coming Soon: January 2012

19 Melissa @TryingtoHeal January 6, 2012 at 12:29 am

Wait, you’re allowed wear an ipod during ragnar? Maybe it was just wild wild west you couldn’t wear them on. Oh well, HAVE FUN!
Melissa @TryingtoHeal recently posted..Comment on Side Notes: Dysmorphia by The Healthy Hostess

20 Angela @ Happy Fit Mama January 6, 2012 at 4:57 am

Sounds like a blast! Stay safe and have fun!
Angela @ Happy Fit Mama recently posted..Toddlers, Leopard Coats, and Inspirations

21 Jennifer January 6, 2012 at 7:11 am

Good luck! Ragnars are amazing.

22 Hillary January 6, 2012 at 7:13 am

This is something that sounds SO fun, but I feel I’d be grouchy if I had to get up at 4am and run eight miles! Haha! Have a great time!
Hillary recently posted..A Good Start

23 abbi January 6, 2012 at 7:37 am

Have a blast…was part of an ultra team for Ragnar PA last year. It was lots of fun…the ziploc bags of clothes, plus a separate one for after essentials (baby wipes, deodorant, etc.) was the best. Even though we were all organized, our van was trashed and a nightmare just a few hours into the adventure!
abbi recently posted..Old Dog, New Tricks

24 Heather @ Run Eat Play January 6, 2012 at 8:32 am

Sounds lIke such an awesome race! Have a great time & good luck!
Heather @ Run Eat Play recently posted..Fitness Injuries

25 Kathy January 6, 2012 at 8:50 am

Good Luck!

Your food always looks amazing…thanks for the inspiration to eat healthier. πŸ˜‰
Kathy recently posted..Read and clicking on the word "video" in the last paragraph.

26 Caitlin January 6, 2012 at 8:53 am

This is an absolutely ridiculous question but I love the little leopard zip case and wondered where it was from πŸ™‚ ?

27 Sarah M @ Blonde Bostonian January 6, 2012 at 9:01 am

Good luck guys! The relay sounds so exciting!!
Sarah M @ Blonde Bostonian recently posted..Twenty Resolutions

28 Jana January 6, 2012 at 9:06 am

Wow that is some extremely complicated packing! I have never ran any kind of race like that and would have no clue what to do! Looks like you are pretty organized to me! I will be interested to see how you rate your packing after the race, whether you brought too much, not enough, etc
Jana recently posted..Easy as Pie

29 Lindsay @ Running the Windy City January 6, 2012 at 9:15 am

That sounds like so much fun! Good luck!
Lindsay @ Running the Windy City recently posted..Things I Did Thursday- 1-5-2011

30 Megan January 6, 2012 at 9:16 am

Good Luck! 24 hour relay races are so fun, I even met my boyfriend at one πŸ™‚ I figured if you can find someone attractive after sweating/not showering/ not sleeping it’s meant to be…
Megan recently posted..Cold runs and canolis

31 Katie @ Talk Less, Say More January 6, 2012 at 9:36 am

Good luck and have fun! I can’t wait to hear how it goes! πŸ˜€
Katie @ Talk Less, Say More recently posted..Fingers Crossed

32 The Ragnar Relay Series January 6, 2012 at 9:36 am

This is a great list of tips, Meghann! Hope you’re having a blast today… and tomorrow! πŸ™‚

33 Cait's Plate January 6, 2012 at 9:41 am

Wow you are WAY MORE a master of packing than I am! I’m seriously impressed!
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34 Emily January 6, 2012 at 10:09 am

This was a RIDICULOUSLY well timed entry for me. My boss, my husband, my bosses wife, a few friends, and I are signing up to run the bourbon chase in KY. We are signing up TODAY.
Emily recently posted..Best.Husband.Ever

35 Lynda @ Hit The Road Jane January 6, 2012 at 10:15 am

That looks like so much fun!!! I can’t wait to do a Ragnar one day : ) Looking forward to your recap!
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36 Stephanie @ January 6, 2012 at 10:26 am

I am so excited for you! Doing a Ragnar is definitely something that I want to do one day. Good luck and have fun πŸ™‚

37 Axel January 6, 2012 at 10:34 am

That is one of the coolest races I have ever heard of! When I visited Miami and the Keys, I thought about how fun a bike trip from the former to the latter would be, a run relay works too! The logistics of packing and organizing is a bit daunting though…
Axel recently posted..Back to the Pool Part 3: Shark Fin!

38 Jaclyn January 6, 2012 at 11:03 am

Sounds like a great race! What a great experience. Looking forward to your pictures. Have fun. πŸ™‚

39 Annette @ EnjoyYourHealthyLife January 6, 2012 at 11:38 am

WOW–that sounds SO fun!!! GOOD luck πŸ™‚
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40 Katie @ Peace Love and Oats January 6, 2012 at 1:28 pm

This sounds like a crazy run, but a ton of fun!
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41 Katie @ Healthy Heddleston January 6, 2012 at 4:26 pm

This might sound dumb, but who provides the vans?
Katie @ Healthy Heddleston recently posted..Ohio Baby Shower

42 Corey @ Learning Patience January 6, 2012 at 5:57 pm

Good Luck…

I’m sure you guys will rock the race…cant wait to hear all about it.
xoxo from Tobago
Corey @ Learning Patience recently posted..Swamp Tour

43 Sara@RunningInPinkProject January 6, 2012 at 8:28 pm

I cant decide if this sounds incredibly fun or totally insane. Good Luck!!
Sara@RunningInPinkProject recently posted..Inside Out Chicken Burgers

44 Allison January 7, 2012 at 4:22 pm

Great tips! Good luck with the race πŸ˜€

P.S. We always have chicken sausage in our fridge but never have cut it up for a fajita- great idea! Usually we’ll make chicken sausage pasta with bell peppers, onions, and artichokes OR chicken sausage sandwiches…
Allison recently posted..The First 72 Hours

45 Denise January 13, 2012 at 2:36 pm

I’m so glad to have come across your blog on the Ragnar Facebook page. I’ll be doing Ragnar So Cal in a few short months and this info will definitely come in handy. Congrats on your big finish/engagement!

46 shari February 23, 2012 at 11:52 am

Thanks for the helpful tips and wonderful pics! Looks like you covered everything. Have an awesome race! We don’t Ragnar until June – our first. If there is anything you might’ve forgotten and could’ve used during the race, do let us know! Thank you and good luck!

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