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 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.