Ten of the Sorry Bunch of Misfits from Ragnar So Cal
The pure logistics of Ragnar So Cal amaze me. Four hundred teams of 12 complete a 200-mile foot race from Ventura to Dana Point, running non-stop for up to 36 hours. Each participant runs every twelfth leg, three legs of the race, grouped in two bunny hopping vans of six. Runners should be prepared to compete in warm, sunny daylight hours and chilly, dark middle-of-the-night hours. Sleep is optional, food is sketchy at best, but the experience is one for the books!
Team Number 75, aka "We Need More Cowbell 2" set off in good fashion at 9a.m. Friday morning. Van One was upbeat and ready to go, and the first runners soon found themselves in the beautiful hills of Thousand Oaks, where strawberry fields and majestic mountains were the backdrop for what was going to be a truly memorable weekend.
Van Two, close on the fumes of Van One, was ready for the exchange in the parking lot of the local Simi Valley Christian Church at 2p.m. Along with hundreds of their fellow participants, Team 75 cheered on their returning Runner 6, whacked the snap bracelet around Runner 7, then proceeded to load into their colorfully decorated cars and head to the next exchange locale. And so it continued for the next 24 hours.
The positives of running Ragnar So Cal: awesome scenery, beautiful neighborhoods, legs that snaked through Beverly Hills, Santa Monica Pier, Venice Beach, Huntington Beach, Laguna Beach -- need I say more? The negatives: possible lack of sleep and maybe a few temporarily lost runners due to toppled signs or wrong directions. But overall, a fun way to spend the weekend with friends and family members.
Most footraces are done solo -- the solitary marathon, the competitive 10k, the individual track workout. But Ragnar is a way to pair a seasoned elite runner with a novice 5k-er. It's more about bonding time in the car than the minutes-per-mile one clocks on his Garmin. It provides an opportunity to cross the finish line with twelve teammates who have worked hard and achieved something together. And best of all, you get to plan out what you will do better as a team in 2012.