• Jakob Irwin

Another State, Another Ragnar

Life is Full of Adventures, and Ragnar races are full of life.

This would be the fourth Ragnar Race I have completed and the Second time I did it with a complete group of strangers. But as Ragnars tend to have the power to do, we are strangers no more!

This Ragnar was unique in that it did produce the most diversity in terms of personalities and locations. Our team consisted of runners from Virginia, Arizona, Tennessee, New York, Pennsylvania and Florida. We had active military, ex military, and no military. We had 4 men and 8 women. We had first time Ragnar runners and essentially professional ragnar runners. We had people that where there with goals to run fast, some with goals to run far, and others with goals to just simply run and finish. But still, despite the diversity and different walks of life, we came together and formed a team... dare I say... a family.

Rest assure, we had speed bumps along the way. However these speed bumps are what made this race so memorable. From cramming in to a small vehicle with 6 runners, to discovering our hotel didn't have roll away beds, to getting tricked into being a designated driver only to drive to absolutely no where, to a name that shall not be mentioned, to getting stopped before finishing my first leg because our team was going too fast, to running in the rain during the final portion of the race. But in the end, No one got lost and everyone finished. In the end, we all crossed the finish line together.

So yes, It's safe to say that I enjoyed this Ragnar outing. But not just because of the people that I got the pleasure to run with. Let's talk about the course itself, because...IT WAS BEAUTIFUL! Essentially surrounded by green mountains and lakes the entire time, and then finishing along the Ocean, Breathtaking is the only way to even start to describe the scenery.

At one point, my van in particular even found itself sleeping in a grass field next to a gas station in lieu of the perfect temperature and setting. A nap in the sun with a slight breeze to comfort us, was just what the Doctor Ordered after our first round of running.

Getting ready for my first leg of running, and have this as my view as I stretch.

The actual running itself was a bit more on the difficult side than I had planned on. Yes the scenery did in fact help, but the elevation gain and loss made for a decently challenging course for all 12 runners on our team. Throw in the fact that we all had to do a late night run at least once, I personally found myself running two extra legs to assist and support my teammates, and the terrain consisted of paved road, dirt, rock and beach sand...and this course proved to be on the more difficult side.

Regardless, I still think it is safe to say that we all accomplished our goals. With some facing fears after recovering from a big injury, to others looking for time improvements, to myself looking to up my mileage...I feel we all walked away from this weekend with a sense of accomplishment.

Now, two weeks after the events of that weekend, I find myself playing catch up every day with conversations from the group. Our friendship has exploded with growth. Plans have already been developed for 6 of us to form an Ultra team for next year, and we all continue to get to know each other on a deeper level. This is simply the power of Ragnar. In fact, one of my favorite moments of this weekend was when the race was over and a group of us were on the shuttle back to our car. We started to speak with one of the other teams that were on the bus with us and It was fun to see the true shock and surprise they had when they discovered that our team had met online! We were just a group of strangers that found a way to come together.

We all had our strengths to provide to the team and what made this weekend successful was everyone's ability to draw on these strengths from each other. So for this, I say thank you...

Thank you Tery for your inspiration and van 2 leadership

Thank you Kevin for your story telling puns

Thank you Erin for your captain duties and thoughtfulness

Thank you Sarah for your bluntness and humor

Thank you Karen for the greatest massage device ever

Thank you Allison for your sarcasm and wit

Thank you David for your personality assessments and distance running skills

Thank you Sam for your strength, unicorn pajamas, and frog saving skills

Thank you Christy for your friendship and openness

Thank you Brian for your movie quotes, and neutral state of mind

But most of all, thank you team. We laughed, we loved....WE LIVED!

-Jakob Irwin-

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