After being a SWAT volunteer three times for Ragnar I earned a free team. When Ragnar announced their newest race in Colorado, I put together a team of awesome runners and had just found my last runner. As a traveling team most of us were from Arizona but I did have 2 runners coming from Tampa, Florida and 3 runners planning a week or more long vacation around the race. Everything for the race was coming together for me.
Wednesday night I received a phone call from Ragnar letting me know the Colorado Ragnar relay dates had been changed from July 27/28 to September 7/8 and they are teaming up with the Colorado Relay.
First I am impressed they actually called me to tell me about the race change. They didn't just send an email saying so sorry, here's the new dates. They didn't however explain why they were changing the dates which leads me to my own speculation. Here's my thoughts:
- There aren't enough runners in the Colorado area to support two large relay races.
- As a runner, I budget money to go towards races and will run a race I've run before. Most runners can't pay $100 for two races 2 months apart.
- If both races are equal (type of race and in same geographic area), there's no reason for me to run both not to mention the cost.
- The race directors realized 28 teams signed up so far wouldn't make the race profitable or break even.
- With only 28 teams signed up (yes, there would be more come race day) the race directors wouldn't have enough volunteers to support the race.
I'm not sure how Ragnar will team up with the Colorado Relay. Colorado Relay uses 10 people teams and Ragnar uses 12 person teams. Logistically I can't see how the exchanges will match up and it will be EXTREMELY confusing for runners and teams if there are exchanges for some runners and not other runners.
It doesn't really matter though how the race will be run because the new dates conflict with my work. I can't take the time off. The new dates would also prevent my brother from running the race because the kids need to be in school and he was making a vacation out of it. Fortunately for me I hadn't done the prepay option booking my vans and the start line hotel and my plane tickets weren't purchased yet. My Florida runner, however, is understandably mad since he's already bought tickets and it will cost him money to cancel/change the tickets.
I did a google search and discovered an unhappy race director who claims Ragnar is stealing courses. As more relays spring up, there are certain destinations that are more desirable and in many cases there are only so many safe roads to run on. But I can understand the frustration. A 200 mile course is A LOT of logistics and to do all the hard work of figuring out exchanges and parking and having someone come along and copy that and take credit for it would not be playing fair. I want to throw this thought out there....think of all the races that use parts of other race courses or even run the exact same course. If a course is proven successful, why not use it again?
I'm a big Ragnar fan and I've run 10 Ragnar races and have another one in June and still feel it is a great experience and everyone should try it. But for me, I'm now passed the honeymoon stage and have to consider the impact running the races on my sleep, my mood the following week and my pocketbook. I need to chose another race to replace this one and maybe I'll just stay local and avoid all the logistics of a traveling team.