Ragnar Relay Resource for Runners

Ragnar Relay

Perhaps you’ve heard of the Ragnar Relay, know someone who is a full-fledged Ragnarian (completed a Ragnar), or the thought of running in a relay event has peaked your interest. Whatever your reason for considering Ragnar, this guide will walk you through the basics to understand what a Ragnar Relay is, how to join one, and make the most of your Ragnar experience!

What is the Ragnar Relay?

The Ragnar Relay is an approximately 200 mile relay race where runners formed in teams take turns running varying distance “legs”. The race itself lasts overnight, spanning two days as teams of runners pile into vans to run their legs, support teammates, or get some much needed rest and food. Those who complete a Ragnar earn the “Ragnarian” designation, but gain a much greater experience!

Where it gets interesting is that Ragnar is all over the United States, run on the road or trail, and varying team sizes are available to increase difficulty (including an “Ultra team” where each runner tackles 6 legs for 26 plus miles of total running).

Ragnar Everywhere and Different Types

Instead of having a relay in one place once a year, akin to the famed Hood to Coast run, Ragnar Relays are highly inclusive per their location. This allows opportunities for reduced travel costs to participate and easier planning given the range of dates, locations, and race types.

Per race types, there is either Ragnar Road or Rangar Trail, each offering a distinct challenge, diverse terrain, and intriguing areas to explore. While each Ragnar adheres to a general structure, the local culture adds a lot of flavor where it’s conceivable for runners to participate in Ragnars like those who “collect” Marathons.

Ragnar Teams

Teams differ in size, composition, and divisions starting with the traditional 12-person team for a regular Ragnar where each person covers between 11 to 24 miles, while an Ultra team of 6 runners covers close to a marathon (26 plus miles) each. For Ragnar Trail, the teams consist of either 8 (Regular level) or 4 (Ultra level) runners.

These teams may be all men, women, or mixed competing in the Open (at least 1 runner under 30 years of age), Masters (40+ years of age), Submasters (30+ years of age), Corporate (consisting of 9 employees), Public Service (9 service personnel usually military, law enforcement, firefighters, etc.), and High School (runners 14-18 years old).

Beyond the structure of the Ragnar is the experience. In fact, many run the Ragnar not to compete for personal and team goals, but to enjoy the unique atmosphere that is Ragnar. It is an event in the truest sense of the word, with a party-like atmosphere spread along the relay.

Many meet new friends or strengthen older friendships, as you can’t help but bond as you cram into a van (body odor is a side effect of Ragnar runner bonding) and cheer your teammates on. In the end, a Ragnar Relay is what you make of it. If you want to be competitive, you can do so, but don’t feel like you must be in order to enjoy a Ragnar.

Runners Competing
Runners Competing

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I have been a lifelong fitness student and enthusiast ever since winning the gold at conference in the 100 butterfly and 200 IM back in my “glory days.” I am also a writer and the marketing wizard here at My Top Fitness. I have an ever-growing list of interests, including swimming, running, golf, bowling, speedcubing, speed running (old Nintendo games), locksport, cooking, chess, tournament poker, fishing, hiking, camping, and sleight of hand, just to name a few. On some platforms, you can find me as the self-appointed “Jack of all Hobbies” I am a proud husband and father of 2 children, a.k.a. gremlins, and I am super excited to help as many people as possible on their individual fitness journeys.