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home > races/results > usa: arizona > relay heaven--run the ragnar relay del sol in arizona

Relay Heaven--Run the Ragnar Relay Del Sol in Arizona
Experience a fabulous early spring overnight relay in Arizona—an unforgettable 200 beautiful miles with friends, running from Wickenburg in the High Desert to Tempe in the Valley of the Sun.

Relay Heaven--Run the Ragnar Relay Del Sol in Arizona

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By Skip Cleaver
Posted Monday, 6 December, 2010

The Ragnar Relay Del Sol is a 200-mile 12-teammate, overnight relay race from Wickenburg, northwest of Phoenix, to Tempe, Arizona running February 25 and 26, 2011. Your team will consist of 12 friends (or six members for ultra teams) who will run around the clock in this early spring relay through the beautiful Arizona Desert. Teams will rock out to live bands, enjoy wacky participant costumes, and make life-long friends with teammates and competitors.

While this 200-miler only lasts about 24 to 30 hours, the memories and inside jokes may last forever. During the relay, each team member runs three legs (or six for ultra teams), each leg ranging between 3 and 8 miles and varying in difficulty. From elite runners to novice joggers, it’s perfect for anyone looking for an unforgettable relay adventure.
Contact: Janessa Black,

The Ragnar Relay Del Sol has been a tremendous success since its inaugural year. It follows the sold-out Ragnar Relay Florida Keys (January 7 - 8), and it is one of the top overnight relays in the USA, one of 15 Ragnar Relays now running in every region of the USA.

Ragnar 12 Days of Ragnar Special
And this just in: Enter to win a great prize once each day for 12 days, beginning December 6 and running through December 17, 2010. Prizes get better every day. Join Ragnar on Facebook for daily winner announcements and prize information. Save money during this period with a 20% off holiday sale on any 2011 Ragnar Relay.

The Ragnar Relay Del Sol is part of the Ragnar Relay Series, the largest relay series in the country. The Ragnar Relay Del Sol is second on the 2011 calendar, rockin’ out on a phenomenally beautiful Sonoran Desert tour.

The course is divided into 36 legs with designated exchange zones at the end of each leg. There are two main categories for teams to choose from: regular 12-person teams (7 to 12 persons) or ultra teams consisting of 6-runners.

The Ragnar Relay Series also includes the highly successful Ragnar Wasatch Back Relay in Utah (the original Ragnar Relay), which runs 178 miles along the unbelievably beautiful Wasatch Mountains June 17-18, which regularly sells out. Others include the Ragnar Relay Southern California, running April 15 and 16; Ragnar Northwest Passage Relay, July 22-23, with an outstanding 189 miles in the paradise that is the Pacific Northwest Coast. And the Ragnar Great River Relay, August 19-20, runs in Wisconsin and Minnesota for 198 miles along the majestic Mississippi River.

The planning and attention to detail regarding route, safety, and rules that have gone into the relay, such as the extensive instruction book and choice of transfer venues, will be a tremendous asset when teams hit the road. They have planned well for you.

Teams will likely enjoy very comfortable running weather, a spectacular sunset, and phenomenal sun rise. Somehow out on the road these experiences are enhanced by the effort and by the camaraderie. The average high temperature in Wickenburg is 72 on February 25, with an average low of 37, and a mean of 55. Tempe, in the valley, is a bit warmer, with an average high of 74, low 45, and mean of 59. The sun will set at 6:27 p.m. and rise at 6:57 a.m.

Who Will Run?
The Ragnar Relay Del Sol is modeled after other overnight long distance relays. The course is divided into 36 legs with designated exchange zones at the end of each leg. There are two main categories for teams to choose from: regular 12-person teams (7 to 12 persons) or ultra teams consisting of 6-runners. Corporate and High School teams are also encouraged to participate, along with running clubs or simply friends and relatives. Additionally there are divisions for law enforcement or fire personnel and the military. Lastly there is a division for running stores.

Planning and organizing for a 12-person team to run these miles at the best possible pace is a great company team builder. Meeting this challenge is about as much fun as you can have in team running. Running clubs and companies can compete with others, or contest their own internal bragging rights. Many companies pay tens of thousands of dollars for such team building—and other methods are likely much less effective.

This relay is designed for runners of all abilities. Whether you are an ultra-marathoner or a beginner, there is a spot for you in the Del Sol. There are six classifications, including women’s, men’s and mixed regular teams, and women’s, men’s, and mixed ultra teams. And there are eight divisions within those classifications: Open, Sub-masters (30 and over), Masters (40 and over), Senior Masters (50 and over), Corporate, Law Enforcement/Fire/Military, Running Stores, and High School. Ragnar Events, LLC even offers training schedules and guides for beginners—novice and intermediate level. Anyone can participate.

Beautiful Spring Desert Course
The course offers an up close look at one of the most beautiful and remarkable regions of the United States, the upper Sonoran Desert. It is a region of beautiful color and shadows, interesting, intricate rock formations, distant mountains and rugged beauty. It is an area of diverse wildlife and cacti amid rugged, tinted outcroppings shaped over millions of years. There is a contrast when you enter the vital, growing, metro area of Phoenix via Mesa and Tempe. Phoenix is America’s sixth largest city in the sixth largest state; it is a region drawing visitors from all over the world because of the natural beauty, the weather, and the rich cultural offerings and heritage.

The run begins at Sunset Park in the small town of Wickenburg, 70 miles northwest of Phoenix. It runs from the west side of town off Route 60 at 43 Sunset Park Road, Wickenburg, AZ 85358. The party begins at the starting line, with music and staggered starts (depending on pace) throughout the day. You will see many other runners in the distinctive tech shirts awarded to all participants, and there will be other race merchandise for sale.

Historic Wickenburg was famous for its very productive gold mines, and is now known for many excellent guest ranches. The initial miles are along the Hassayampa River, one of the last great riparian areas left in the state.

The course is net downhill, starting at elevation 2,085 in Wickenburg, finishing in Tempe at 1,243 feet; plenty of challenge--and spectacular views.

It heads south initially during the first six legs, then east and northeast to the mountains north of Phoenix. It the heads east and then south, entering the metro area on the northeast before swinging south to the Salt River Valley and on into Tempe.

All along the route, and especially in the areas near the Hassayampa and Salt Rivers, the spirit of the ancient Hohokam people remains. They built a sophisticated civilization based on an extensive and complex system of irrigation canals. They lived and farmed in the area for many centuries before disappearing around 1450—before the arrival of Spanish explorers.

Relay teams will experience a phenomenal desert sunset, and an equally gorgeous desert sunrise, where fading light and shadows make the desert dance with color—a natural high, and shared inspiration. You may also see deer, javelinas, wild burros, hawks, and an array of birds.

The course passes through such amazing landscapes you will be using the camera constantly. The Hieroglyphic Mountains will be seen north, and the route travels near Lake Pleasant Regional Park. The course skirts the edges of the immense Tonto National Forest and McDowell Mountain Regional Park before paralleling the Salt River.

The course will be well marked and monitored with plenty of access to aid. Safety is the highest priority for all Ragnar events. Carefully selected van exchanges will allow runners to shower, eat, sleep, refill water bottles, and get to know friends from around the country or around the world.

Runners will enter Tempe from the east. And then the finish line party begins, with live music, awards, massages, vendors, excellent food and beverages, and that incomparable feeling of accomplishment and team camaraderie. Each team member will remember their adventure, and their teammates, for the rest of their lives.

Distance and Difficulty
The 36 legs in the Ragnar Del Sol Relay average 5.5 miles. The shortest is 3.1, and the longest is 8.3. Nine legs are classified as easy, based on distance and elevation change; 16 are rated moderate; nine are classified as hard, with two rated as very hard.

Two team support vans—six runners each--will carry runners from exchange to exchange and will trade off every six legs at the van transfer areas.

Headlamps or flashlights and reflective vests will be worn during darkness, and runners may have pacers run with them during the nighttime legs. Vans will be able to “shadow” runners—not follow them, but keep them in sight for safety and directions.

There will be food and activities at several of the van exchanges, and the 200-mile challenge will be in full swing throughout as runners rock on through the tough legs and the easy ones too.

Be Wild, Have Fun
The scenery of Arizona has inspired many. There is a personal attachment to its wonders after an up-close look at the splendor. Each participant in the Ragnar Del Sol Relay will gain a personal connection. So scenic and majestic is this course, that teams should drive its entire length in reverse as they travel to the Wickenburg start line. Running clubs that have participated count the event as one of the great experiences in the club's history.

If you or your group has considered a relay, do it. If you have not considered a relay, organize your team and get to it. This relay provides an experience unmatched in other running events, and should not be missed.

The Ragnar Relay Del Sol will be the epitome of camaraderie and teamwork; shared aspirations will drive teams toward their goal. And they will have a lot of fun doing it. It will be a competitive highlight for many clubs and organizations, and the ideal team-building exercise for many companies.

These relays are exceptionally well planned and well orchestrated. And it will be just about as much fun as runners can have—challenging, yet remarkably enjoyable; the epitome of camaraderie and teamwork. Enjoy life, Run a Ragnar Relay!

Whether it is team or individual costumes, the best decorated van contest, team theme or name, music, medals, or memories—this will be one really enjoyable experience. The rapid growth and popularity are proof of this. But it is the grandeur of the Sonoran Desert as a backdrop to every mile that really makes this event unique.

You Can Do This—Run for the Fun
Adventures like this one don’t come along very often. Build a team of adventurous, fun folks and see the grandeur of your desert relay course. Then try one of the other 14 for comparison in any of these very different regions of the country.



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