There's a lot I didn't now about Ragnar. Sure, I'd seen the stickers, that freaky mirrored "R" that looks a little like a flying wasp, or a medieval weapon. My interest was first piqued several years ago when I saw a van completely decked out in Ragnar orange and sporting that logo.
In time I came to find out Ragnar is a running race, or a running event that's held each year (hence, the Ragnar 2006, Ragnar 2007 stickers...). Growing up, I ran races. I ran track and cross country in high school. I pretty much understood the concept of a running race. Of course, for those of you who have experienced Ragnar, I had no idea what it was. Ragnar was like nothing I have ever experienced.
Our start time was early, 5:45 a.m. The runners gathered under a huge inflated orange arch and we began. The vans--I didn't realize how important the team vans were. They are the covered wagons for the modern day runners crossing the plains (and mountains...). They are the horses for the Pony Express or the Apple Computers for Pixar. The van is like the 7th member of the team (and they are equally beat up by the end of the race...). Simply put, the event would not exist without the vans. I didn't realize they were so important.
Another misconception I had was the type of participant would be attending the event. I knew going in what type of shape I was in, and I was surprised to find that not everyone was the ultra-marathoner, runs about as much time as they sleep, goes through a pair of running shoes in a few months, runner. Don't get me wrong...I saw a lot of those runners there, but I wasn't alone in being not like that. It was nice to see the event could include almost everyone.
Like I stated earlier, I thought I knew a little about the race, but now, after having experienced it, I can understand how this little event that began with 22 teams 9 years ago has grown into a nationwide (and hopefully, worldwide...) sensation. After sleeping about 4 hours in the last 32, after running approximately 13 miles in that time, eating only 2 "official" meals, and spending every minute with the five other individuals in our van, I have a whole new appreciation for, not only Ragnar, but the incredible scenery that is found literally in our own back yard. Thank you Ragnar (and Bob...) for an incredible weekend, I weekend I hope I never forget.