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A Ragnar Relay Proposal: Part II – The Final Legs

by Meghann on January 10, 2012

Did you miss Part I? Check it out here!

Rise and shine! It’s Ragnar time!


The name of the game in any overnight relay race is sleep where you can, when you can. My teammates and I crashed in the 15 person van. Other teams got creative.


My favorite was the hammock set up. Classy.


After my van finished up our first legs, we had roughly six hours to eat, make it to the next major exchange and sleep. Van 1 was predicted to come in around 12:30 am, but it wasn’t until close to 2:00 am that we got word the last runner was on their way. Of course, that news didn’t bother us. More time = more sleep. Nope. We didn’t mind at all.

Surprisingly, sleeping on the floor of a van wasn’t that bad. I got roughly 3-4 hours of sleep and was wide awake and ready to go when I was awaken around 2:00. We were parked at a local high school that had showers and restrooms open to runners, but I opted for a baby wipe bath and downed a couple of cups of the free hot coffee on site.


We also ran into our teammates from van 1. Their legs took them through the everglades with nothing, but the moonlight to guide them through. I heard it was beautiful, but also a little scary at times. They all played ‘don’t wake the alligators sleeping on the side of the road.’


With only a couple of hours of sleep under her belt, our first runner was ready to tackle the 9.9 miles (!) ahead of her and – let me tell you – I was not jealous. More power to her.

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And while the majority of friends up and down the east coast were still sleeping – or just coming home from the night before shenanigans – Jenn kicked off the second set of legs for van 2 around 2:30am.


My goal was to stay awake and show support but, once we were back in the van, it only took a few minutes to lay my head down and fall back asleep. I didn’t even realize I was asleep until I woke up and Jenn was already back from her 9.9 miler, Nate was done with his 6 miles, and Kerri was halfway through her moonlight 8 miler. Apparently I had missed a lot.


From what I was told, the moonlight runs were GORGEOUS. The last legs of the relay were a straight shot down US 1 and were mainly compromised of bridges along the water. Everyone who had a night run told me those legs were their favorites.

Just after 6:00am Derek was prepping for his 4 mile leg.

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He had the best run of all, the one with the sunrise.


Now THIS is why I wanted to do this race. These are the legs I’d been waiting for!


And on what was probably the most beautiful location for an exchange, Derek handed the snap bracelet off to Dana for her 3 miles.




Done. :)


The next exchange came on quick. Really quick. So, quick that Dana came in and had to wait around for a bit as we made our way to the exchange point. Sorry, Dana! Luckily we found each other and I was able to take off on my 6.9 mile leg without further issues.


The sun was fully up by the time I took off for my leg just before 7:30am. The course took me through a secluded paved path for the first 3-4 miles that left me a tad bit jealous of everyone’s very scenic moonlit runs.


I saw Derek just at the 3.5 mile mark and handed off my now unnecessary reflective vest (which was like wearing a heat shield) and grabbed a bottle of water.


The sun was really starting to heat everything up at this point. Again, super jealous of everyone’s much cooler night legs.


The last half of the run was a little more scenic. I went over a couple of bridges, saw some water, and just took everything in.


Each leg went by really, really fast. I still can’t believe how fast this race felt.


Coming in for the kill.


Go, Lee, Go!


  • Distance: 6.9 miles
  • Time: 1:01:13
  • Pace: 8:47 min/mi


Gatorade was my friend after every leg.


With all 6 runners of van 2 done with our second legs, we packed up and headed to the closest breakfast place we could find that didn’t have a line out the door (I’m sure all the businesses through the Keys had a love/hate relationship with all of the Ragnar participants invading their cities and filling up their restaurants). We drove by a few places that were insanely packed with Ragnar runners, but didn’t feel like waiting for a table to be serve. We ended up finding a place just around the corner from the next major exchange on Sugarloaf Key for breakfast.

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One large latte and one egg and veggie wrap really hit the spot.


Our next major exchange was at another high school with clean bathrooms and showers.


There was also a nice quiet gym that plenty of runners crashed in.


Some crashed in style.


We did not crash in style.


Van people until the very end!

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I didn’t end up sleeping, but I did make friends with some vans around us, caught up on reading, and spent 30 minutes discussing a random guy’s antler tattoo with my teammates as he stretched in front of our van.

We were there a loooonnnnggggg time.

I started to go a little crazy in the van, I also got hungry again. The high school band was selling slices of pizza and other snacks to runners. I had two slices of greasy cold pizza to fill the void.


Just when we thought we couldn’t take being stuck in the high school parking lot any longer, we heard that our runner was on their way in for the hand off. Finally!


I think we were all so antsy to run and finish up this race that everyone sort of blew their last legs out of the water. Jenn was so fast with her 5 mile leg (about 35 minutes!), that Nate barely caught her coming in and hadn’t even set his ipod up yet when he took off.


Nate killed it too.


He finished his very short 2 miler in just 13 minutes!!!

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Kerri had 2.7 miles next.


She said the heat was brutal, but it didn’t stop her from finishing with a smile.



Kerri handed the bracelet off to Derek for his final 2 miler.

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My baby finished strong! 2 miles.18 minutes 40 seconds. No support needed.


Dana’s turn.



That was it. 194 miles down, 30+ hours taken, and I was the last runner on deck.

This was when everyone started acting funny. Derek was attached to his phone and was acting funny, Nate randomly became interested in his long forgotten video camera, Jenn went silent, and I was reminded yet again to take my time getting to the finish line. They wanted to make sure they had enough time to make it to the finish line and park so our whole team was there to cross together. I was so antsy to run, I just wanted to get out there and finish.

We were all suppose to finish in costume (our We Ran With Your Mom Last Night shirts and running skirts and pearls for the girls, animal print for the guys), but it was too hot to wear the sticky pink shirt on my run. I put the pearls and runnings skirt on, and stuck the shirt in the back of my skirt for just before the finish line.


We saw Dana come into the exchange chute


And with a quick snap of the bracelet, I was off.


I tried to listen to their advice and take my time, but I went out too fast with an 8:00 min/mi. Oops.

My team met me at just over 1.5 miles and gave me some cheers. I told them I was good and I would meet them at the finish. Only 4 more miles after that. No biggie. I crossed into Key West off of US 1 and started my last wrap around the island before the finish.

My last leg was gorgeous. The sun was just barely starting to set and was hovering beautifully over the water as I ran. I lost myself in the water and began to slow down. A couple of teams passed me, but at this point I really didn’t care. I wanted to make sure all of my teammates were waiting at the end.

With a little less than half of a mile to go I made my first turn. No finish line. I pulled my shirt out and put it on. Another turn. No finish line. Another turn. Where the heck is it? Another turn. Oh, that’s the hotel my parents stayed at when we were here last time. Wait. I think that’s it.

I see the finish line.


To be continued…

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