Rockford youth hit ground running in Ragnar Relay

Competing in a 200 mile Ragnar Run from Winona to Minneapolis are, front row, left to right, Austin Achtelik, Eliza Shedlov, Lydia Buffie, Luke Klonne, and Ty Griffin. Back row: Jordan O’Reilly, Austin Witthun, Nick Klonne, Nathan Schumacher, Nick Powers, Nico VanDanacker and Drew Haften. The runners, all 18 years and younger, completed the relay course in 28 hours. (Photo by Lisa Klonne)

Competing in a 200 mile Ragnar Run from Winona to Minneapolis are, front row, left to right, Austin Achtelik, Eliza Shedlov, Lydia Buffie, Luke Klonne, and Ty Griffin. Back row: Jordan O’Reilly, Austin Witthun, Nick Klonne, Nathan Schumacher, Nick Powers, Nico VanDanacker and Drew Haften. The runners, all 18 years and younger, completed the relay course in 28 hours. (Photo by Lisa Klonne)

Last month, 12 Rockford area youths joined forces and participated in a Ragnar Relay.

What, you ask, is a Ragnar Relay? It all began back in 2004 in Utah. The idea to run an overnight 24-plus hour relay across the mountains of Utah was put in action by college roommates Dan Hill and Tanner Bell, and spanned 188 miles. It was dedicated to the proposition that getting kids outside to experience exercise and outdoor adventure, while working in tangent with friends, was something good for them inside and out and an opportunity to challenge themselves and each other. It’s now the largest overnight relay series in the US.

And, the name Ragnar? Well, that also represents the spirit in which the event was created. Ragnar was a 9th century Scandinavia king and conqueror who, legend has it, was a fearless and free-spirited man who would probably, it he’d had the opportunity, stuffed his feet into a pair of running shoes and taken the first leg. There are several, enough to go around, and this is how it works:

Each participant runs three times, with each leg ranging between 3 to 8 miles and varying in difficulty. There are legs for novices to life long runners, so anyone who can run can participate.

While one person is running, the rest of the teammates are on support duty in race vehicles. Teams require two vehicles – half in one van, half in the other. The first van’s runners cover the first six legs. As each runner begins, the crew in the vehicle can drive ahead, cheer their runner on and meet them at the exchange point to pick them up and drop off the next runner. After the first 6 legs, the second picks up the slack and starts putting in the miles.

Once all 12 runners have completed their legs, there’s a rest stop and then … all this is repeated two more time, or until all runners have completed three legs.

Sound like fun?

Well, it was for 12 Rockford kids and some of their family members who can now claim “Ragnar” status. They, like Ragnar, can say, in all honesty, that for one entire day and night they “ran” and were fearless, free spirited and. ..r ose to the Ragnar occasion. Well done.

For more information on future relays, or to find out more about the runs, prospective Ragnarians can visit:www.ragnarrelay.com.

 

 

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