Ragnar Trail Relay Richmond: One Wild Ride

I’m linking up this morning with Holly and Tricia for their Weekly Wrap link up. This past weekend was one wild and crazy ride, and I’m still trying to wrap my head out of it. Right now it is a blur of dirt trails and trees, sleep deprivation, newfound friends, fear of not being able to do it, and then crossing the finish line and proving to myself that I could.


I probably won’t have a recap up until at least next week. It takes awhile to decompress from these Ragnar events. Here are a few details….

Our team began running on Friday at 2 PM and finished sometime around 5:00 PM Saturday (I think… it was sometime Saturday afternoon anyway). The total advertised distance was 125.6 miles, which we split between four people as an ultra team. However, it seemed that the loops were actually a bit longer, and we all agreed each of us ran between 33 and 34 miles for a total of 132-136 miles. I ran with Debbie’s Moms Run This Town group and since we fielded two ultra teams we were able to pair up, so everyone had a buddy to run with in the woods. Deb and I ran together and had a blast keeping each other company and swapping stories.

Eight ladies and a total of 265ish miles between us

This was my third Ragnar and I thought I might break my streak of not sleeping during Ragnar Relay events, but alas it happened again. I tried my hardest to get some sleep from 11 PM to 2 AM or so, but it just didn’t happen. Instead I set a new record for staying awake: 40 hours.

Tent city… where some people probably did manage to sleep during the night.

I survived running two of our six loops in the woods in the dark. I would not have survived if it weren’t for Debbie. She also would not have survived if it weren’t for my navigational skills πŸ˜‰ (honestly, she would have been just fine, but in our sleep deprived state we had a joke going about her ending up in the Atlantic)


Deb and I also got to meet Karen during the event!! She came over to the state park on Friday afternoon and she was just as nice and friendly as she seems on her blog. πŸ™‚ She even brought us presents, which was super sweet! I’m so glad we got to meet, and I wish we could have hung out longer (or even gone on a run together!).

Shamelessly stolen from Deb's blog
Shamelessly stolen from Deb’s blog

There were times during the event when I worried I had bitten off more than I could chew, despite having run my 50K a few weekends ago. We finished our first leg of the relay, which ended up being a little over 12 miles, and the distance we had left to run started to feel very daunting. Luckily Barry happened to be there in that moment and it was just the two of us. He was able to talk me down before I went into full on freak out mode.

I love this sign, especially when I’m on my final loop.

Things got super confusing towards the end, and we took matters into our own hands since the Ragnar officials were not on the same page as us (more on this later…).


In the end, we pulled it off. The trails at Pocahontas State Park were awesome. I was surprised at how large the park was and I’d definitely love to go back sometime to explore some more.


I’ve now run a road Ragnar from Maryland to DC, a trail Ragnar in WV on a non-ultra team (8 people), and now Ragnar in Richmond on an ultra team. These events are so challenging in a unique way because you take the miles you are running and spread them out over roughly a 24 hour period and you are often running on little to no sleep. But the camaraderie with your team makes it really special. Ragnar is a bonding experience for sure, and you’ll definitely form new friendships along thew way. In total, our Moms Run This Town group had 24 runners (2 ultra teams, 2 non-ultra teams). We camped all together and hung out between our runs. I had so much fun with them and met so many awesome new people. I went into this event knowing it would be my last Ragnar Relay. But it wouldn’t be too difficult to convince me to do another one (not on an ultra team, though!).

Have you ever run trails in the dark?
What’s the longest you have ever stayed up at one time?

8 thoughts on “Ragnar Trail Relay Richmond: One Wild Ride”

  1. I think I got one hour of sleep on the plane going to Italy, so I was awake in the morning in Boston, boarded the plane that evening, one hour of sleep, which was not solid, and stayed awake to get on Italy time. I almost fell asleep on the tour bus.

  2. I was so tickled to get to meet you! I hope we get to run and chat one day πŸ™‚
    I can not believe you didn’t sleep, that is a crazy long time and then ran all those miles!
    I wondered how the head lamp did on the trails at night. Some sections are really tricky, and I wondered how the footing was. I was caught one day after I took a wrong turn and spent about an hour in the dark and I used my phone light and it still felt really dark. I guess since you stuck together maybe it wasn’t as intimidating? did you pass many runners on the night loop?
    I think you all rock, that is a lot running!

    1. Oh wow, it would be scary to get caught on the trails at night and have to use your phone light! I don’t think we did too much passing at night, or in general during Ragnar, haha. But I comforted myself with the fact that the majority of them were non-ultra teams.

  3. Why your last Ragnar? Or just the last Ragnar you’re signed up for right now?
    I’m interested to hear more about the officials not being on your side.
    I’ve run two Ragnars now & both times something has gone seriously wrong. Not in a way like anyone was injured, but just in an oh shit, last minute scrambling to make things work way.

    1. Probably my last Ragnar just because they really wear me out. They are a lot of fun, and I’ve enjoyed all of my experiences. But I’m not a big fan of the lack of sleep and the running at night. So that’s why this was probably the last Ragnar for me.

      I’m sorry you’ve had things go wrong with your past Ragnars! My past two experiences were really well-managed, even when there were things that went awry. This was the first time I’ve had any last-minute scrambling, and our team definitely would not have finished if we had not taken matters into our own hands. But this was also the first year for this location and I think they have some things to work out for next year.

  4. This sounds like so much fun! It’d be a bucket list item for sure. It’s so cool you were able to meet my friend Karen (which I have YET to do!). I can’t imagine the constant energy there must be at one of these events. There’s no way sleep would be possible. I’m anxiously awaiting details now. Thanks for linking with us Megan.

  5. Wow up for 40 hours!! That is something else! I can tell you what draws me to doing a Ragnar is the bonding because it is not all the running and conditions!
    Even after reading many recaps it is still on my bucket list!

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