If you’ve ever participated in an overnight relay, such as a Ragnar Trail Relay, you know they’re one part relay race, one part camping trip and one part sleepover that will make history. If the thought of a 24-hour overnight trail race is intimidating, keep reading. If you’re considering it, keep reading. If you’ve already done it, offer suggestions in the comments!
Competing in a trail relay is both a good time and a challenge. Each team is comprised of eight runners (or four for you ultra types) who run relay-style on three single-track loops that start and finish at the Ragnar Village. Teams run from Friday to Saturday, day and night, until each runner has completed all three loops. The first loop is usually the easiest (but still hard), the second a bit harder, and the third, the hardest.
So, to break it down a bit farther:
|Runner 1||Green Loop|
|Runner 2||Yellow Loop|
|Runner 3||Red Loop|
|Runner 4||Green Loop|
|Runner 5||Yellow Loop|
|Runner 6||Red Loop|
|Runner 7||Green Loop|
And so on until each runner has finished all three trail loops. The total mileage for each runner is about a half marathon.
Sound appealing? These events provide an opportunity for a truly unique race experience. We compiled some tips to consider while curating your team and mapping out your logistics.
Trail shoes, lots of socks and plenty of comfortable weather-appropriate layers are a must, but it’s important to pick up a high-quality headlamp, hydration pack, rain gear, etc. Don’t worry though, we’ll follow up this article with more specifics on what to pack.
There’s no easy leg of this race, so no place to hide your lack of training. There are some brutal climbs and difficult descents, and your ankles will thank you for training properly.
The team should bring plenty of camp chairs, air mattresses, sleeping bags, blankets and pillows to ensure maximum comfort during times of rest. If you can sleep, wonderful, if you can’t, at least you’ll be comfortable.
You’ll be rustling around in the middle of the night trying to find your gear, you’ll need some organization in your campsite. Tip: A designated changing tent has been known to be helpful.
Standard pasta dinner is included for Friday night, and breakfast food is available for purchase Saturday morning, but you’ll need to bring some of your own to stay satiated and energized. For those inclined, grills are welcomed, and for those who prefer a low-maintenance camp kitchen, a cooler with sandwiches and snacks works just fine.
Ragnar gives out belt buckles for the best team costume and best decorated campsite at each of the events. Tutus, costumes, wigs and clever themes are welcomed with open arms.