In February of 2016, Ragnar announced its first Northwoods Trail Relay.
Unlike the standard Ragnar relays, where a team of 12 runs upwards of 200 miles while his or her teammates follow in a couple of vans (been there, done that! Check out the Ragnar Race Recap from 2015 HERE)… This time teams of 8 camped out at Nine Mile Forest in Wasau and each teammate ran the same distance.
16 very enthusiastic runners and 2 extremely helpful volunteers signed up almost immediately after the race was announced, and the “Trails Gone Wild” and “Ragnar Gone Wild” teams were formed. There were some unfortunate injuries and obligations for some team members along the way, but luckily we were never short enthusiastic runners to take their places.
Training began in earnest in August, when the we tackled 2 double days – 3 miles in the morning and 6 in the evening. In early September, there was a nighttime dress rehearsal at Lapham Peak during which we got to practice on trails in the dark, broke in their headlamps, and got extra excited for the big event.
Through many texts, facebook posts, and quick face-to-face meetings, all the logistics came together and soon the two teams were on their way up North. Jon and Steve kicked things off on Thursday night by setting up camp. The rest of us followed with full cars – everyone brought camping supplies, food, and plenty of coffee, and it’s safe to say that the “Wild Village” was one of the best equipped of the weekend! I mean, check out our breakfast!
After attending a safety training and getting the lay of the land, the teams were off. Each member ran a 3 mile leg, a 4.6 mile leg, and a 7.6 mile leg. Each leg was about .5 miles longer than advertised, but that just meant that the runners were lucky enough to spend more time on the beautiful trails! The trails were tough, though. The 3 mile leg was very technical with lots of roots, rocks, twists, and turns. 4.6 was less technical but still had quite a few obstacles to overcome. The 7.6 mile was by far the most difficult both in terms of terrain and elevation. Every runner was thrilled to have that one out of the way!
The race was incredibly well-run and organized. Each runner was mostly alone out on the trails, which is amazing considering that nearly 200 teams were part of the event! The solitude of the trails was a great part of the experience, but coming back to the exchange tent and passing the team bib on to the next (smiling, cheering) runner was even better! Though most runners agreed: the best part of the weekend was hearing teammates arrive back at camp after their legs. Without a doubt – the support and camaraderie of both teams was absolutely unbeatable.
It’s safe to say that each runner had a goal of just finishing the race, and that we did. It’s also safe to say that we would have been lost without our volunteers, Pat and Lori Gifford!
Congratulations to Ragnar Gone Wild and Trails Gone Wild for a great race!!
Coach Christy Guinane