Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Ragnar Relay

It's been crazy busy before, during and after the Ragnar Relay and I'm just getting around to posting about the race.

Ragnar is unlike any other race.  It is fun and miserable all at the same time.  It forces you to run when you tired and sore and hungry.   You'll cheer everyone on and want everyone to do their best and feel pride when a runner sprints in or charges up the hill.  It is an amazing race.

On Thursday morning, 24 hours before leaving for the race,  I received an email from a fellow van runner that he was injured and couldn't run.   Right away I started emailing people trying to guilt, I mean encourage them to run with us.  I emailed Eric Rutin, a friend who is a writer for Phoenix Examiner and he put out a call to all the subscribers that I was looking for a runner. I emailed other people and they sent out emails to their running clubs.  The runners leg was one of the hardest ones of 22 miles and some tough hills.  I knew I could absorb one or two of the legs but not all three.  Since I only one of my other van members, I didn't know if the others could help absorb the 3 legs.  No one stepped forward until  9:30pm Thursday night when I got a call.  Talk about last minute!  I was a very happy camper.

We got on the road and drove up to Prescott where it was still cold enough to have some snow remaining in white patches along the roads.  I located Coach Dean, who had three teams running.  My team, Rx Running 2, another team from the running club, Rx Running 1 and a high school team Wildcats.  The race started at noon and we were off running.

Rx Running 2 Christina, Alice, Marianne, Nicole, Chuck and Yong 

 The Start

The very last minute runner that joined our team was awesome.  He had a 7 or 8 mile run that was practically all uphill and he ran it with ease.  Finally it was my turn and I didn't take into account the altitude.  It took me a while to find my stride but I got it and beat my estimated pace.  The problem about beating the estimated pace is it could mean no energy for later legs.  After we handed the baton off to the other van we got dinner at a diner that had some of the worst service.  We were told by the cook that we would have to be gone by 6pm and we didn't even have our food yet. Ah, the stories that come out of Ragnar.

 Chuck, with his blue hair and kilt. Later he wore Vibram Five Fingers to add to the look.

We started running again around 10pm and my leg was at 1am.  I was getting pretty tired and had 7.4 miles to run.   In the middle of the leg I was joined by another runner who helped me push my pace. Up to that point I was running at a comfortable, but not race pace, pace. With the other runner by my side, we ran a couple quick miles together.  She explained that her teammate had fallen, broken her wrist but continued to run her leg even with the broken wrist.

What happened next changed the rest of the race for me. 18 year old, Robby Mayasich,  giving water support to a fellow runner and he was struck by a car and is in critical condition and is not expected to recover. The race was shut down for hours at exchange 18 and we were rerouted to exchange 24.  Basically 6 legs were removed from the race.  Van 2 offered to run for us at exchange 24 and we swapped routes at that point.  Our van instead drove to exchange 30 and I got a very much needed 2 hours of sleep.

 Jim, Alice and Marianne waiting at exchange 30 for the next runner

Although I woke up feeling better, the accident weighed heavily on me.  The information was all rumor and we heard all kinds of various stories. Even days later, I'm still very saddened and impacted by the accident.

The finish line was full of festivities and we didn't get two runners in the picture because they weren't back yet. I wish we would have waited for them.


Anonymous said...

LOVE the pictures. what a blast!

but my t&p s are with robby. hope he can pull through

Jamoosh said...

I hope they beat the driver of that car. That totally sucks and has to weigh emotionally on everyone involved.

Julie said...

Hi Christina,
Wow, what a great little recap!! It looks like so much fun:) Great pictures!!

Sarah said...

Wow...sounds like quite a race! So sad to hear about the boy in the accident...please let us know if you hear anything else about his condition.

Ewa said...

Cool report.
Kilt and Five Fingers! I wish I could see that.

RunKathyRun said...

Great race report; I've done a handful of relay races, most notably Hood to Coast and they are a blast. They seem to be more of an exercise in survival than a running event. A couple of years ago a teenage runner was hit during Hood to Coast, she was hit by a another teenager high on Meth. Luckily, she survived and is doing fairly well. My thoughts go out to the young man's family; how terribly tragic.

Libby said...

Oh my gosh. That accident sounds awful :( My thoughts and prayers are with his family and everyone involved.

Carol said...

That is so sad that someone will lose their life because ANOTHER driver thought something else was more important than paying attention to their driving. As a former casuality claims adjuster for a major insurance company, and having investigated many auto accidents, trust me on this one . . . very few drivers are paying attention and most NEVER see what (or who) they hit until AFTER impact. Be careful out there!!!

Lisa said...

Oh so sad about teh boy. I hope he can pull through.

The relay sounds fun and exhausting at the same time.

Anonymous said...

Truly a horrible turn of events.
Glad that you're ok

Running Through Life said...

Congrats on the race!

How awful about no chance for recovery. I clicked on the link and read the story, so sad.

Teamarcia said...

I heard about the tragic turn of events and I'm so sorry.

Love all the pics-looks like quite the trek!

Katie A. said...

Wow! That is terrible about that runner! I can imagine it weighed on you heavily! My thoughts are with his family.
I am running a relay in May and now I'm all worried! You would think running would be one of the least dangerous sports out there, but I, too, have been hit by a car and had a close call.
Great race report!

Anonymous said...

I just heard that that boy passed away. So very sad.

lindsay said...

i'm glad you were still able to have a good time even with the tragic accident. very sad about the young man!

relay's definitely seem like a lot of fun. a little tiring and i'm not sure about the smelly van... but fun all the same :) i hope to do one soon!

Jill said...

Those races are such a blast!!! I do one in the summer through the mts of Colorado! Great memories you'll always have! Love the pics, thanks for sharing your experience!

kilax said...

Oh my gosh. That is so awful what happened to Robby. Poor guy. It would heavily affect me too.

Ragnar said...

I ran the Ragnar Las Vegas, when another runner was recently killed. I feel for you, and it was so sad for all runners. Even more so, of course, our thoughts go out to the families of these two young men. (Both of them did pass away.)
I did not feel safe at all during our race. I spoke to many others (at least 6 other teams, so about 84 people represented) who felt the same. I feel the race organizers have minimal security and very little signage while runners are all over the road and frequently in the dark! In other road races, I have always seen better signs and portions of the road closed to allow some extra room. Just because this race covers 174 miles, making it difficult to block off, does not give the organizers license to literally have people running across busy highways in the dark. We felt exposed and in danger over and over, even before we heard of the death. Maybe we could never prevent these particular tragedies, but very minimal precautions were taken in my opinion! We paid a ton of money to participate and we deserve a safe race. Many of us complained and felt very unsafe and now tragedy has occurred again...
I considered running another Ragnar because it is so fun, but this is not lightning striking twice. This is an inherently dangerous situation made infinitely worse by inadequate planning, in my opinion. Sadly, I am not at all surprised to hear of another tragedy, only 4 months after the last.
All our best to the loved ones of these two young men and to all Ragnar participants. -Ragnar LV team