Relay Heaven--Run the MyoMed Ragnar Relay Del Sol in Arizona
Experience a fabulous early spring overnight relay in Arizona—an unforgettable 187.3 beautiful miles with friends, running from the High Desert to the Valley of the Sun.
Posted Monday, 12 November, 2007
The MyoMed Ragnar Relay Del Sol was a tremendous success last spring in its inaugural year. And it is going to be one of the top overnight relays in the USA in 2008, running February 29 and into March 1st. Yes, it is leap year, and you may never get a chance to run another leap year relay. This one, for sure, is leaps and bounds ahead of similar relays, and will provide a fantastic experience of a lifetime. It will be a chance to rock out all along the course--runners love to party, and relay runners love to party longer and harder. How much running and partying can you and 11 friends pack into a 24-hour period? With innovations such as live music at transition stations, selective legs based on pace and experience level, and so much more, this will be a fantastic opportunity for an unforgettable experience.
The Myomed Ragnar Relay Del Sol is part of the MyoMed Ragnar Relay Series, the largest relay series in the country, with four—that’s right four—of the most successful and fastest growing overnight relays. The MyoMed Ragnar Relay Del Sol is first on the calendar, running from Wickenburg, Arizona to Scottsdale, Arizona, with 12-person (or 6-person ultra) teams rockin’ out on a phenomenally beautiful Sonoran Desert tour. It was tremendously successful in the first year with 72 teams and 852 participants—unheard of in a first run.
The MyoMed Ragnar Relay Series also includes the highly successful Ragnar Wasatch Back Relay in Utah, June 20-21 (the original Ragnar Relay), which runs 178 miles along the unbelievably beautiful Wasatch Mountains. Then there is the Ragnar Northwest Passage Relay, July 25-26, with an outstanding 189 miles in the paradise that is the Pacific Northwest Coast. And lastly the Ragnar Great River Relay, August 22-23, running in Minnesota and Wisconsin 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 selection 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. They will experience 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 29, with an average low of 37, and a mean of 55. Scottsdale 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 187.3-mile MyoMed 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 who run either a 6x1 or 6x6 configuration. Corporate and High School teams are 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. And there is a division for running stores.
Planning and organizing for a 12-person team to run 187.3 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. USATF clubs, RRCA 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 those 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 MyoMed Ragnar Relay 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. In another innovative move, runners can select their three legs based on ability, and need not follow a set sequence.
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 wildlife, 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, of course, when you enter the vital, growing, metro area of Phoenix via Mesa, Tempe, and into Scottsdale. Phoenix is America’s sixth largest city in the sixth largest state in area; 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 in the small town of Wickenburg, 70 miles northwest of Phoenix at the Wickenburg Community Center, 160 Valentine Street, 85390. The party begins at the starting line, with live 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 Scottsdale at 1,247 feet. There is a total elevation gain of 9,605—plenty of challenge--and a net elevation loss of 10,443—spectacular views.
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 other 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. There is a lot to see on the loop north along New River Road before entering Cave Creek. 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 of Ragnar Events, LLC for every participant. Carefully selected van exchanges will allow runners to shower, eat, sleep, refill water bottles, party, and get to know friends from around the country and around the world.
Every van ride, every exchange point, every stop along the way will be a party—a unique party for each unique team and groups of teams.
Runners will enter Tempe from the east before turning north into Scottsdale to finish (as a team) at Eldorado Park, 2311 North Miller Road, 85257. And then the big 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 it, and their teammates, for the rest of their lives, like another graduation.
Distance and Difficulty
The 36 legs in the MyoMed Ragnar Del Sol Relay average 5.2 miles. The shortest is 2.9 (two of those), and the longest is 7.7. The minimum total distance for three legs is 10.2 miles. The maximum total is 15.6 for one runner. All 12 will more likely be in between, depending on selection. Six legs are classified as easy, based on distance and elevation change; 11 are rated moderate; 14 are classified as hard, with five 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 live music at several of the van exchanges, and the 190-mile party will be in full swing throughout as runners rock on through the tough legs and the easy ones too.
Who is Ragnar and What is Ragnar Events, LLC?
Ragnar was a powerful Norse King, a wild man by all accounts, who symbolizes the free spirit and outdoor adventurous soul in all of us. He set goals and conquered them. He explored and roamed his world, and enjoyed life. The Norse, of course, explored North America and founded colonies in Greenland that survived for over 400 years—yes, tough, determined, and adventurous.
Ragnar Events, LLC was founded to provide all adventurous souls the opportunity to explore and conquer through team relay races. It offers runners of all levels a chance to bring out their Ragnar within.
Steve Hill wanted for many years to establish a relay through his beautiful home state of Utah, and finally his son Dan and childhood/college friend Tanner Bell set about the Ragnar Wasatch Back Relay. It started out with 22 teams in 2003, then grew to 89 the second, and 174 teams the third year, to 316 last year. One partisapant was outdoor enthusiast and entrepreneur Eric Jacobson. He was so enthusiastic about the relay concept they determined to go at it full time and expand to the Series of Four. Excellent and supportive sponsorship has helped. They have enjoyed explosive growth with each adventure, a reflection of the national trend toward overnight distance relays and adventure outings. Their goal is to bring the tremendous experience of an overnight distance relay through beautiful landscapes to as many as possible. They want to help everyone bring out their wild side, their Ragnar spirit.
Ragnar Events, LLC is located in Bountiful, Utah. See www.ragnarrelay.com for more information on them and their four terrific relays.
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 have 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.
You and Your Teammates will be a Ragnar
The MyoMed 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. Enjoy life, be Ragnar!
There is a long list of terrific reasons to run this one, whether your team is aiming for a championship or running for fun--nothing quite like it. It will be 187.3 serene and beautiful miles from an historic small southwestern desert town through spectacular scenery to the sophisticated and unique southwestern city of Scottsdale with it's famous museums, galleries, restaurants, and attractions. Now there is one more attraction, the MyoMed Ragnar Relay Del Sol.