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home > races/results > usa: minnesota > relay for everyone--run the myomed ragnar relay great river

Relay for Everyone--Run the MyoMed Ragnar Relay Great River
They have done it again! Enjoy an overnight relay in the heart of the USA--198 terrific miles to rock out and party with friends along the majestic Mississippi.

Relay for Everyone--Run the MyoMed Ragnar Relay Great River

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By Skip Cleaver
Posted Wednesday, 19 December, 2007

The MyoMed Ragnar Relay Great River, August 22-23, will run in Wisconsin and Minnesota for 198 miles along the majestic Mississippi and St. Croix Rivers. This is the last of the four highly rated and recognized MyoMed Ragnar Relays for 2008. What an odyssey, with many miles immediately along the rivers or within sight of them. Massive limestone bluffs, unspoiled wetlands, incredible wildlife habitat, impressive dams and locks, broad lakes plied by gracious riverboats and massive barges, a variety of bridges, beautiful rolling farmland, and moonlight on the tranquil but powerful river; these are a few of the sights and experiences you will share with friends on the rockin’ party-journey. Ragnar strives to set the standard for relay races.

This will be one of the top overnight relays in the USA in 2008, running through a uniquely American region. It will provide an experience of a lifetime. Compete for the age group and overall prizes, or challenge for the reputation of best party team; go after some of the unique prizes for costumes and vehicle decoration. Overnight relay runners love to party, and sleep is a rare option—you could miss something. How much running and partying can you and 11 friends pack into a 24-hour period? Live music at transition stations, fantastic planning and support guarantee an unforgettable experience.

This is a 198-mile overnight relay race.
Consisting of 36 legs, the race starts in La Crosse, Wisconsin, a Mississippi River and college town. This is not just for high mileage runners—this is for everyone, all abilities. The Ragnar organization’s vision is to bring overnight relays into the mainstream, and they have. Their highly successful races are designed to get people involved in competitive running while and having a good party and enjoying a unique section of our country--have a great time and provide an experience of a lifetime.

“Run, drive, sleep? Repeat” and party whenever you can.

The race runs through the night—no stops. The course is divided into 36 legs with designated exchange zones. Legs vary in length and degree of difficulty. 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 also encouraged, along with running clubs. Additionally there are divisions for law enforcement or fire personnel and the military. Lastly there is a division for running stores. Some are organizational, some teams are pick up teams, family and friends.

Each team typically has two support vans, six team members per van. You can sleep between legs but sleep deprivation is part of the fun for many. Some exchange points will have live bands, support crews, food, beverages, and a place to shower, sleep, or party. It will be a competitive highlight, and the ideal team-building exercise for many companies.

Register Now, Considerable Savings
The sooner you register the better. Sign up in advance, and save. You don’t need to have the entire team in place to register; you can add or change names until June 30th. Check the Website for registration instructions and fees, Use the message board, or call (877) 83-RELAY. And please check out their award winning Novice or Intermediate Training plans.

The Great River is part of the MyoMed Ragnar Relay Series, the largest relay series in the country, with four of the most successful overnight relays. The MyoMed Ragnar Relay Great River will be rockin’ out on an unbelievably beautiful riverside tour.

The MyoMed Ragnar Relay Series also includes the phenomenally beautiful MyoMed Ragnar Relay Del Sol in Arizona--187 miles--February 29-March 1; the highly successful Ragnar Wasatch Back Relay in Utah, June 20-21 (178 miles, the original Ragnar Relay); and the Ragnar Relay Northwest Passage, July 25-26, an outstanding 189 miles through the Pacific Northwest Coast paradise.

Who Will Run?
Teams will come from all over the country, and represent all levels of ability. Teams will be formed in memory of someone, or in support of a favorite cause. All will experience two unforgettable days and a tremendous spirit of accomplishment and camaraderie.

Planning and organizing a 12-person team to run 198 miles at pace is a great company team builder. Meeting this challenge is about as much fun as you can have in team running, and is the ultimate team builder.

This relay is designed for all runners. Whether you are an ultra-marathoner or a beginner, there is a spot for you. There are six classifications: 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. Anyone can participate. Runners can select their three legs based on ability, and need not follow a set sequence. These races are designed to be inclusive. If you can run a 5K you can easily train for this relay.

One of the things that has made the Ragnar Relay series successful is the focus on having a great time—rock out and party between runs. They keep everything cool and under control, although teams are encouraged to be outrageous (They must also be good neighbors in the few residential areas).

The Start
The relay run begins August 22 in Riverside Park in La Crosse, Wisconsin. Starting times will begin at 7:00 a.m., and go to about 4:00 p.m., depending on estimated team pace. There will be live music and a lot of excitement at the start line at Riverside Park.

La Crosse was named, interestingly, because natives were observed playing a game similar to what we now know as lacrosse. La Crosse is a dynamic college town with a rich river heritage.

The party begins at the starting line, with live music and staggered starts 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.

Beautiful Rivers, Wonderful Course
The course hugs the scenic banks of the Mississippi and La Croix Rivers for much of the 198-mile tour en route to Minneapolis. It offers an up close look at one of the most beautiful and remarkable regions of the United States, the upper Mississippi Valley. It is an area of diverse wildlife and placid waters amid rugged limestone bluffs. After many miles in rural Wisconsin there will be a sharp contrast when you enter the vital, dynamic metro area of Minneapolis-St. Paul, but much of the course in the metro area will be trails along the river. Every van ride, every exchange point, every stop along the way will be a party, and every leg a scenic and enjoyable run.

The first 24 legs will run in Wisconsin before crossing the St. Croix River to begin the last 12 segments in Minnesota.

The course will be well marked and monitored with plenty of access to aid. Safety for every participant is the highest priority of Ragnar Events, LLC. 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. There are excellent course maps and descriptions on the Website.

The course runs through the following: Great River Road National Scenic Byway, Upper Mississippi Wildlife Refuge, National Lower St. Croix Scenic Riverway, Mississippi National River and Recreation Area, Trempealeau National Wildlife Refuge, Eagle Bluff (highest point on the Mississippi), Van Loon Wildlife Area, Tiffany Bottoms Wildlife Area, Frontenac State Park, Perrot State Park, Merrick State Park, Kinnickinnic State Park, Lake Elmo Regional Park, Battle Creek Park, Minnehaha Park, Afton State Park, and many more parks and reservations.

Some other course highlights:

  • Wildlife viewing, including Bald Eagles with hundreds of nests, especially between Fountain city and Alma.
  • More wildlife--Great Blue Herons, egrets, tundra swans, Canada geese, varieties of ducks, other waterfowl, songbirds, woodpeckers, owls, turkeys, fox, deer, and more.
  • Lake Pepin (Pepin, Stockholm, Maiden Rock, Bay City) broad part of the river above the confluence of the Chippewa River; water skiing was invented here.
  • Lake St. Croix.
  • Historic towns and buildings throughout.
  • Trempealeau Mountain
  • Diamond Bluff.
  • Six dams and locks operating, serving traffic on the river.
  • Beaches and pleasure craft.
  • Wide variety of impressive and historic bridges.
  • Limestone bluffs and cliffs high enough for hang gliding and winter skiing.

The Finish!
The final leg includes trails and the historic Stone Arch Bridge, originally built as a railway bridge in 1883, it now strictly a pedestrian and bicycle bridge. It has 22 spans, and is a marvel of 19th century engineering. It’s a great place for the entire team (mile 4.2 of the final 5.8) to join the last runner for the triumphant run to the finish. That last 1.6 miles includes historic Main Street, the bridge to Nicollet Island, a run along the island, and a footbridge entry into Boom Island Park and the finish line.

Boom Island Park is just northwest of Downtown Minneapolis, and directly along the river. Given the staggered start, teams should finish at around the same time.

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.

Distance and Difficulty
The 36 legs of the MyoMed Ragnar Del Relay Great River average 5.5 miles. The shortest is 2.9, and the longest is 8.3. Each person on a 12-member team will run three legs, any order, on a six person ultra team, six legs. Total mileage for each runner on a 12 member team will vary from 14.2 to 20.8 miles, depending on selection. Based on distance and elevation change, 12 legs are classified as easy (six of those in the final third of the race); 16 are rated moderate; 6 are classified as hard, with only two rated very hard. Each runner will have about six hours to rest between legs. Total time for a 6:00 minute pace would be 20 hours, for a 10:00 pace, 33 hours.

In a masterpiece of planning, 40.5% of the mileage will be run the first 12 legs, 31.5% the second round, and only 28% in the final 12 legs. The last round is much easier than the first two. With 28 of 36 legs rated easy to moderate, this is the best overnight relay available for beginner teams or those with little experience.

Ragnar and Ragnar Events, LLC?
Ragnar Events is named after an historic hero, a powerful Norse King. Ragnar was a wild man by all accounts who is portrayed as a pirate/adventurer. The founders of the relay series thought this a fitting image for the adventure of a relay series. This is a young, dynamic organization working to establish relays across the country.

Ragnar Events, LLC was founded to provide all adventurous souls the opportunity to explore and conquer through team relay races. It offers runners a chance to bring out their Ragnar within. They have grown dramatically. Their goal is to bring tremendous distance relays in unique 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 for more information on the company and their four terrific relays.

Teams Forming
Team captains will get help forming teams; individuals help in finding teams. Logistics are well planned; all you have to do is show up and run. Each team is given detailed instructions that contain all the rules and answers all questions, including maps and directions. Provided in a nutshell:

  • Ragnar spirit and chance to rock out in a beautiful, inspiring setting.
  • Live bands in some transition areas and finish line party.
  • High quality technical running tees for all participants.
  • T-shirts for volunteers.
  • Age Group and Category Awards.
  • Medal for every finisher.
  • Transition areas with drinks and nourishment (and place to crash if necessary).
  • Flawless course logistics and safe handoff locations.
  • Excellent directions and instructions.
  • Best Team Name Award.
  • Participant/Volunteer Photo, Video, and Article Contest
  • Best Vehicle Decorations.
  • An innovative training calendar spotlighted by the New York Times.
  • Rockin’ Finish Line Party!

There will be much more, of course, everything to make the MyoMed Ragnar Relay Great River an unforgettable relay adventure. The planning regarding route, safety, and rules that have gone into the relay is top notch. The details, including choice of transfer venues, will be a tremendous asset when teams actually get on the road. They have planned well for you.

Overnight Run, Lifelong Friendships
Most of your team will end up running a night leg with a headlamp--a unique experience. You will be running along the Great River in rural Wisconsin in the wee hours. Where else can you run in the middle of the night under a canopy of stars with hundreds of other runners—and crazy friends in vans? There is camaraderie.

The Great River Road
The Great River Road flanks the Mississippi River from southern Louisiana to the headwaters in Minnesota. It was established in 1938. The portion through Wisconsin and southeastern Minnesota, the course of the relay, is a scenic gem. Much of the road, US Route 35 in Wisconsin, is nestled between the towering limestone bluffs on one side and the river on the other, and is one of mid America’s most scenic tours. When away from the river briefly, it travels through rolling farmland and forested enclaves. There are dozens of quaint river towns and small cities along this route, with historic buildings and small stores selling Wisconsin cheeses and ice cream.

The road tours wetlands and wildlife habitat, unique bridges, at least six lock and dam structures (boats and barges will be seen “locking through”), and dozens of parks and beaches. It is a terrific mix of history and natural beauty, including high, rugged limestone cliffs carved thousands of years ago by the powerful river. Busy river traffic is always visible, including an occasional elegant steamboat. There are many historic markers and archeological sites; it is continuous series of incredible views.

The Great River
The Mississippi River flows 2,340 miles from northwest Minnesota to the Gulf of Mexico. The Mississippi and its tributaries drain 41% of the contiguous United States; water flows to it from the Rocky Mountains to the Appalachian Mountains, from all or parts of 31 states. It is the great commercial waterway of this nation, along with the major tributaries Ohio and Missouri Rivers. The Mississippi flows through two states, Minnesota (first 575 miles) and Louisiana, and it defines the borders of eight others.

The word Mississippi is derived from an Ojibwa/Algonquin word meaning Great River, and it is. It begins from a very small glacial lake, Lake Itasca (only 1.8 square miles, elevation 1,475 feet) where you can walk across, and at its widest it is four miles.

Let’s Go!
On August 22-23, 2008 the 2nd MyoMed Ragnar Relay Great River will bring together runners of all abilities to forge friendships and get that incredible experience only available from an overnight relay. This year you can be one of 200 teams to run the 198-mile, 36-leg scenic odyssey from La Crosse to Minneapolis.

A Ragnar Relay is not just a major accomplishment, it is an awesome party. It is the ultimate blend of athletic achievement and social enjoyment. 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. The Mississippi River has inspired many. There is a personal attachment to its wonders and power. Each participant in the Relay will gain a personal connection, and close friendships. Yes, it’s 198 serene and beautiful miles from La Crosse to Minneapolis—through landscapes that inspire the athlete and soothe the soul.



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