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  • Writer's pictureTIKIMA THOMPSON


In the world of running, there are countless races that challenge athletes both physically and mentally. One such race that has gained immense popularity in recent years is the Ragnar Trail Race. Combining the spirit of teamwork, the beauty of nature, and the thrill of trail running, Ragnar Trail offers a unique and exhilarating experience for both seasoned and novices alike.

I have had the personal experience of participating in two Ragnar Trail races myself. The exhilaration of conquering challenging terrains, the thrill of teamwork, and the sheer beauty of nature left a mark on me. The memories and sense of accomplishment from those races still inspire me to lace up my running shoes and seek new adventures. I'm super stoked to share with you the captivating world of Ragnar Trail racing, exploring its format, the essence of team camaraderie, and the awe-inspiring landscapes that serve as its backdrop.

What is Ragnar Trail?

Ragnar trail is a series of overnight relay races that take place on rugged trails in scenic locations around the world. Unlike traditional road races, Ragnar trail requires teams of 8 runners to tackle a set of three different trails covering a variety of terrains and elevations. Each team member takes turns running loops (red loop, yellow loop, and green loop) on these trails, completing multiple legs until the entire course is conquered.

One of the standout features of Ragnar is its emphasis on teamwork. Each team member has a specific leg to run, and as one runner conquers their portion, they hand off a slap bracelet and bib, to the next teammate waiting at a designated transition area. This seamless exchange symbolizes the collective effort and support required to complete the race.

Ragnar trail races are not only about the thrill of running but also about immersing oneself in stunning natural environments. These races are often held in breathtaking locations, such as national parks, mountain ranges, or coastal trails. My races were held at Wawayanda State Park in New Jersey and Big Bear Lake in the Appalachians. The views were beyond impressive. I think anyone who has run Ragnar trail races will agree that Ragnar gives runners the opportunity to witness picturesque vistas, breathe in the fresh air, and escape the confines of city life.

Whether it's the towering trees of a dense forest, the serenity of a lakeside trail, or the challenge of rocky mountain paths, each Ragnar Trail race offers its own unique setting. Runners are treated to a feast for the senses, making the race an unforgettable adventure.

A Test of Endurance

Ragnar trail races can vary in difficulty depending on the location and course design. The trails encompass a range of terrain types, including dirt paths, rocky trails, steep ascents, and technical descents. Runners must be prepared to run overnight (yes you read correctly, RUN OVERNIGHT), navigate through uneven surfaces, conquer challenging elevations, and adapt to changing weather conditions.

The race demands not only physical stamina but also mental fortitude. The lack of sleep, the constant movement, and the ever-present adrenaline rush push participants to their limits. It's a test of endurance and resilience that reveals one's inner strength.

The race demands a lot from its participants, but the celebration and camaraderie among the runners make it all the more worthwhile. The race atmosphere transforms into a vibrant celebration as the sun sets upon the trails. Campsites are set up at the race venue, becoming a hub of camaraderie and excitement. Runners cheer on their teammates, share stories, and enjoy well-deserved rest between their runs.

The festive spirit extends beyond the teams, as participants from different groups come together to support one another. There's a sense of unity among the running community, fueled by a shared passion for both the sport and the natural wonders that surround them.

Looking ahead, I am eagerly preparing for not one but two Ragnar races this year: Ragnar trail BLACK LOOP (insert every nervous meme you can think of here) and a Ragnar road sprint, which both are totally new for me. The anticipation of diving back into the wild, hanging out with my team, and facing new adventures fills me with excitement. As I train both my body and mind, I am reminded of the incredible journey that lies ahead. Ragnar races have become more than just a race for me—it's a testament to one's strength, the power of teamwork, and the beauty of nature.

Ragnar Trail races offer an exhilarating and immersive experience, blending the love for running with the beauty of nature. So, gather your friends, embrace the wild, and embark on an unforgettable Ragnar journey that will push your limits and leave you with memories to last a lifetime.

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