5 GREAT Things About the Reebok Ragnar Great River Relay
Ragnar relay races are a little bit different from your traditional road race. For one, they cover the expanse of 200+ miles over the course of two days and one night. But they also rely heavily on things you don’t typically consider when road racing: teamwork, running shifts, and a van large enough to tote around 6-12 runners. The journey of a Ragnar relay team is not so much about the time on a clock (though it could be) or the pace of a run, but about the experience, and a great one at that!
Ragnar relay races are held all over the country, but you don’t have to trek far to get in on the action. Reebok Ragnar Great River takes place right here in the Midwest, traveling from Winona to Minneapolis, MN.
Related: Why You Should Run a Ragnar Race
Reebok Ragnar Great River takes place on August 18 through 19. Sign up as a team of 6 or 12 to complete a 200+ mile journey starting in Winona, Minnesota and through rolling corn fields, beautiful forested parks, along the Mississippi River, and finishing in Minneapolis.
All Ragnar Relays are fun, but Ragnar Great River is more than fun…it’s great! We spoke with Ameena Kahn, the Ragnar Great River Race Director to learn more about this event and what makes it so great.
What makes Reebok Ragnar Great River so GREAT?
Yes, you may be running in the Midwest, but there’s certainly no shortage of beautiful, green scenic routes. The Reebok Ragnar Great River route starts along the bank of the Mississippi River in Winona and travels through every shade of green you can imagine as you run by endless rows of corn fields, through forested areas like Afton State Park, and along the shores of the St. Croix River, Pepin Lake, and the Mississippi River.
“This is going to sound so silly, but my favorite part is the incredible stretches of rolling corn fields,” Ameena said. “I cannot believe how vibrant and breathtaking it is – especially in August! That combined with the expansive wonder that is the Mississippi River and this course really does show some of the most scenic views America has to offer.”
The best part about running a Ragnar race is running as a relay with friends. If you’re new to relay races, know this: they are fun! 200+ miles might sound daunting, but on a relay team you can split up the distance, trade sleeping, driving, eating, and running shifts, and hand off the sacred slap bracelet (Ragnar’s version of a relay baton). Few things are as satisfying as finishing an epic and exhausting relay leg, tagging in your next runner, and giving a huge high-five to your teammates!
The Reebok Ragnar Great River race is filled with energy! From the adrenaline-filled relay teams to the supportive friends and family members to the cheering spectators, you’ll find an abundance of energy throughout the 200+ mile course.
“When you have 11 of your closest friends and family members cheering you on during each of your legs, it is an incredible feeling. Not only are they there to support you, but they’re also going through it with you,” said Ameena.
If you’re used to traditional road races, get ready for a real running adventure! Relay runners will run through fields, forest, river banks, and more and traverse more than 12,000 ft of elevation gain. They will go out for runs on little to no sleep, run into the sunset and under the starry night sky, and cram into a smelly van to devour snacks and fluids in preparation for their next run. There is no pause button on the clock, no mile markers, and no runner tracking; as a relay team, you will navigate the spans of the Midwest together and do whatever it takes to reach the finish line!
At the end of the day, the best part about running a relay race is doing it together with your team. Over the course of two days and one night, you and your team will sleep, eat, breathe, run, and do all things from the confines of a passenger van and the empty road.
Ameena told me, “My favorite Ragnar memories come from the time I spent hanging out in our smelly van making memories with my friends just as much as the time I spent out running the scenic course.”
Are You Ready for a Great Relay Adventure?
Are you running the Reebok Ragnar Great River Relay or other Ragnar event? Tell us in the comments below!