First, The Experience.
It's hard to compare the road relay and the trail relay. They were very different experiences I love both!, but I'll try to give a description of the overall experience.
This was much better than a road relay. Once you arrive and set up camp, you're good to go until your runners are finished and you pack up and go home. This meant it was always easy to find the exchange it was always in the exact same spot! and easy to cheer on your runners as they headed into/out of the transition tent. Unfortunately, it seemed like the excitement of meeting each runner really waned after the first couple runners - especially as the temps dropped into the 40s.
Being in one location meant you weren't packed into a sweaty, smelly van with 5 or 6 other people for two straight days, which also meant more time to stretch after finishing a leg. You also got to hang out with your entire team instead of just your van. Oh, and since every runner eventually runs the same leg, comparing stories of the trails is lots of fun! Plus, it kind of mentally prepared you for your next leg. Well, unless you were runner 1, 2, or 3. They were the trail guinea pigs.
On the downside, without driving from one exchange to the next, time between legs seemed to drag a little for me anyway. Also camping equaled lots, lots more gear and setting up/breaking down camp. Two of my least favorite things. And, of course, everything got very, very dusty. Of course, it was camping, so sharing the Ragnar experience with your family was a bit easier. I kind of regret not really inviting Jeff to join me.
Being in one location also meant lots of fun amenities. Ragnar really took care of us. They provided free dinner. Unfortunately, it was a bit of a disappointment that they chose to provide chili. Who wants to eat chili after running? I stuck to the pasta my team made. Ragnar also provided unlimited water, coffee, and cocoa. Well, they were out of cocoa when I tried to get some and the coffee was horrible, but free is free.
Once the sun went down, they lit two huge, awesome bonfires. One was right near the finish line, which was great for staying warm while waiting for your next runner. No bonfire would be complete without the makings for s'mores. Actually, they had smaller fire pits for roasting marshmallows. The other bonfire had a guitarist singing songs some of the time, and someone telling Greek mythology stories while staring at the stars at other times.
You could cool off (or warm-up) after the race by jumping in the pool or hot tub or fighting for a shower.
This is kind of a weird amenity to get excited about, but in addition to the usual smelly rows of port-a-potties, they also brought in a company called Eco Commode.
These were awesome! Less smelly and better for the environment. You should really go check out their website to find out more info. They are based out of St George, but their port-a-potties are available throughout the Western U.S. If you would like to see these port-a-potties at your next race or other event, have the director email them at firstname.lastname@example.org or fill out this form.
They also had some pretty cool vendors with booths set up. You could charge your phone with Sun Trap Solutions and demo trail shoes from Salomon and fill your water bottle up with Nuun. There was also a Ragnar Gear tent, where you could buy all kind of fun Ragnar paraphernalia.
Seriously, everything was so great! Especially considering this was the first one. Ragnar did a phenomenal job.
My biggest regret? I didn't take advantage of nearly enough of the amenities. No pool, hot tub, or even shower for me. Gross, I know. I didn't even try the chili or the s'mores.
I never made it to the Nuun tent or the Ragnar Gear tent.
I did demo some Salomon shoes for my 3rd leg. They were really nice, but I didn't like the service I got from their staff on site, so I probably won't ever buy their shoes. Yeah, I'm totally petty like that. If a company is at an event promoting their product, they better razzle-dazzle me. Or at least show me some interest.
If I do a Ragnar Trail Relay again, I think I'll definitely convince Jeff to join me and I'll definitely venture out of campsite for more than just hitting the next trail.
Now, I've got to hobble my way to the laundry room. Stay tuned for a report on the actual running and trails.Tweet
I was in no way compensated for any mention of Eco Commode. I just tried them this weekend and loved them so much to promote them.