Thursday, May 9, 2013

Why Do You Ragnar?

Almost exactly one year ago I wrote a blog piece titled "Why I Ragnar."  I wrote it after finishing the SoCal Ragnar with a team consisting of my family and friends.  Overall it's been a rather successful post.  To date it's had almost 1,100 pageviews and still makes me laugh whenever I read it.  In it I describe why each of my teammates was running the Ragnar.  The catch, however, is that I never actually asked them why they were running.  Instead I extrapolated their reasons for them from my own suppositions.  Without attempting to brag, I'd have to say that in most cases I came pretty close to what they would have said.

Wasatch Back Ragnar 2011

The piece then goes on to describe why I run Ragnars.  To date I have ran eight Ragnar events: two SoCals, two Wasatch Backs, two Vegas, one Ragnar Trail Experiment, and one Ragnar Trail Relay.  Also I have ran the Red Rock Relay in Southern Utah.  This year I'll do another Wasatch Back, another Vegas, and maybe another trail relay. 

Ragnar Trail Experiment 2012

After all that experience I've become comfortable with why I run Ragnars--with why I pay out good money for entrance fees,van rentals, food, gas, and lodging; with why I am willing to run anywhere from 13 to 20+ miles in a period of 30-36 hours with little to no sleep; with why I'm okay with sitting in a van with people who are sweaty, dirty, and stinky not to mention grumpy and out of sorts from lack of sleep and soreness; and with all the other things that make it challenging.  My problem is that when I try to explain to non-runners and even some runners why I do it, they don't understand.

SoCal 2012 - Trying to get some sleep

Let me correct that last statement.  A few of them do understand and are willing to try it.  Most of them that do try it love it and go on to run a second or a third or a fourth Ragnar.  I know one or two who have tried it, checked it off of their list, and vowed never to do it again.  (Most of us are okay with that as our experience with them may not have been all that great either.)  Many people, however, look at me like I'm stupid, crazy, out of my mind, sad, loony, and any number of descriptors for talking glowingly about the Ragnar much less running them repeatedly. 

Most of you likely have seen the computer animated video of the guy explaining to his female colleague the logistics of running an overnight relay race.  When I showed that video to my mother-in-law, after attempting to explain the lure and pull of the Ragnar multiple times, she started to laugh hysterically.  Honestly, it became a bit offensive.  I had to walk away and not speak with her for a few hours.  She just doesn't get it and I don't know how to explain it to her.  And there are many others like her.

On an interesting side note, our teams have had a number of non-running van drivers, who after viewing and experiencing the Ragnar as an observer, decided they had to run a Ragnar.

So, my request to you, the reader, is to share your reasons.  Why do you run Ragnars?  How do you explain the Ragnar ? Have you found any effective explanations that convince your non-believing, non-running friends?  If you have, please share them in the comments.  If you haven't found any effective explanations, then share your reasons that make sense to you.

One of my favorite things about the Ragnar, and all other races, is the power of a shared experience.  People from all walks of life gather to run together, to cheer for each other, and to help each other across the finish line.  It brings family, friends, co-workers, and strangers together.  (I always feel bad for the non-Ragnarians in the family when we all get together and start discussing past and future races.)

Las Vegas Ragnar 2012 - Finish Line

So, again, let's share our experiences and our reasons for running.  Share some of your favorite stories--serious and humorous.  Even if "they" don't get it, we do.

- Jarad Van Wagoner


Anonymous said...

I can't read your other post for some reason.

I find, I don't try to explain it. Either people get it, or they don't. I guess that's why I'm not an ambassador.

If they don't get it, too bad, if they do get it, great, lets get in a van a run this thing!

ambennett86 said...

i also can't view the original post. i've not yet done a ragnar but may do the socal in april. = )

ambennett86 said...

ps - the original post doesn't show in microsoft internet explorer but does show in mozilla firefox. trying another browser was the solution for me. maybe it'll help others who had the same issue.