Ragnar Trail relays feature everything you loved about summer camp as a kid: fun outdoor activities with friends, s’mores around the campfire, and night skies teeming with stars. Mix in incredibly scenic trail running and a festival-like atmosphere, condense it down to one weekend, and you’ll be in adult-summer-camp Ragnar heaven.
Each Ragnar Trail event centers around a sprawling cluster of tents, campsites, yoga tents, etc. known as Ragnar Village. Here’s where the downtime and partying take place. When you’re not connecting with nature out on the trails, you’ll be connecting with your team at your campsite or with other runners at the Village.
Here’s how it works. Ragnar trail-running relays are comprised of teams of eight runners (for more challenge, four runners can form an ultra team). Teams are given two days and one night to run a series of three trails, or “loops,” that vary in length and difficulty. The loops start and end at Ragnar Village, and each team member must run all three for a total of 14–16 miles.
Ragnar Trail Relays take place in 20 awesome locations across the United States, so after you’ve chosen a race to enter, the next thing you need to do is build your team.
Below are some tips to get you started:
Pick a Team Captain
If you can throw a party, you can captain a Ragnar Trail relay team. Volunteer yourself! Team captains are fearless leaders who facilitate the team fun and are responsible for registering the team, picking the team name, assigning the runner order and making sure team members are up to date on race-day logistics.
Rally The Tribe
After you’ve established a team captain, it’s time to rally your tribe for an unforgettable weekend of camping and trail running. Anyone can run a Ragnar Trail relay, just as long as you train. Here are some tips on how to find runners to build your team:
- Look beyond your inner circle. If you can fill your team with your closest friends and family members, great! If not, don’t be afraid to reach out to co-workers, cousins, sisters, friends from your gym or run club, and friends of friends. Cast a wide net, since you never know who might be interested.
- Don’t just look for runners. Anyone who is active, even if they aren’t a “runner,” can enjoy a Ragnar Trail event.
- Check out local REI events. REI hosts several Outdoor School events, including kickoff and gear-up events for those looking for more information about Ragnar Trail. These events are a great way to find teammates and prepare.
- Set an expectation. Many Ragnar Trail teams are less about competition and more about running for the fun of it. Some teams even dress in humorous costumes. When recruiting teammates, let your expectations be known. For example, telling your friends that it’s fine if they power-walk or hike parts of the course can ease some anxiety and convince them to sign up.
- Use social media. Ragnar Trail events’ Facebook pages let runners looking for a team and captains looking for runners to connect. On Ragnar Trail’s Ragnar Account page, you can log in and use the Team Finder tool to email runners or captains directly.
- Share the excitement. Running three times in a 24-hour period, on little sleep, with one run in the middle of the night, isn’t for the faint of heart. However, the sense of accomplishment and community you experience during a Ragnar Trail is a real high for most participants. Boost your team’s enthusiasm by sharing photos, videos and race swag, including the best finisher medal ever.
If your team members live in the same locale, consider using the free training tips from REI and Salomon, and train with your team leading up to race day. The great thing about a Ragnar Trail relay is that even if team members don’t all know each other before the event, they’ll leave the race as close friends.
For more tips on how to create a team and prepare for the relay, check out Ragnar Trail’s Build Your Team page.