Why…..Ragnar Relay???

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If You Want To Go Fast, Go Alone.

If You Want to Go Far, Go With Others

So why do we run Ragnar Relay races as the driver of our fundraising? We could all just run a 5K, hike some great distance, or bike something else individually but there’s something about doing this as a team that has really taken us.

It’s truly about “basking in the joy of achieving something, together, that we could never have done alone.” We are mostly a group of “Average Joes” who tackle this race. Yes we often times have 1 or 2 that are really good but in general, we pride ourselves on being regular folks who love to run so when we finish it, it really is a major sense of accomplishment.

Ragnars do have a different feel to them though. I’m not sure I’ve ever been to a competition where most everyone is that happy or nearly giddy to be there and more so, encouraging towards the runners around them. It is a truly unique atmosphere.

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Yes, there are moments where you’ll wonder why you committed to this. I have certainly had my doubts. I have certainly had my moments where I wanted to quit! One vividly comes to mind:

It was 2:30 in the morning, 40 degrees, and I was running directly into a 15 mph wind. The run started in the parking lot of a casino in northern Michigan but it quickly turned left and out into the country. The terrain was mainly flat to start but then it started these big stair case styled inclines that lasted the better part of two and a half miles. I had gotten chilled earlier in the day and the conditions that morning weren’t helping things. A month or so before, I’d been running the best I had in a decade but I tweaked a groin muscle and felt “ok” enough to give the Ragnar a go and I’d run pretty well the day prior during my day runs. That morning though….was miserable. Cold, wind-whipped, and taking a wrong step, I slightly tweaked it again. I started my downhill portion of the run and got through that but it just wasn’t a good situation. At now 3:15 in the morning and about 4 miles into a 7.5 mile run, it definitely wasn’t fun and I was ready to quit, nearly in tears. I was running with my phone and went to call my buddy Art, who was our driver, twice to tell him to come pick me up because I was done.

On the third time, I worked up enough gumption to actually make that call and I start talking about how bad this sucks and my groin hurts and I hear in the most, and I say this lovingly…haha, annoyingly chipper voice for the time of day, “YOU GOT THIS BUDDY! YOU’RE DOING GREAT! WE LOVE YA! YOU GOT THIS!” — CLICK.

Son of a gun. He hung up on me. I wanted to quit. He wouldn’t let me and I could hear the others waiting on me cheering me on too. I wasn’t happy with them for being so darn upbeat at this point in the morning. I was tired, grumpy, hurting, cold, and running considerably slower than I wanted. That’s a pretty crappy combination of things. And then I looked up.

I looked up and saw the lights of the fairground that I was running towards. Before I stuffed my phone back in my arm sleeve, I checked my mileage. I was less than 2.5 out. “How’d that happen?”, I thought. I was so annoyed at everything that I ran a mile and didn’t even realize it and with the end in sight, I buckled in and powered towards the end. When I got there, I had a team waiting and cheering me on like you wouldn’t believe. There was no reason for them to be that supportive and fired up at 3-whatever in the morning on a COLD September Saturday morning but they were and I think that’s the essence of what Ragnar is about.

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It’s about overcoming what, at times, feels impossible…..together.

It’s also why it’s been such a great event for us to mesh with our fundraising efforts. When we all started this back in 2015, raising $1,000 seemed IMPOSSIBLE, but we doubled it….together.

And that togetherness extends well beyond just people running the relay. It’s the families that make the sacrifice to allow their husband or wife to train hard throughout the week to get ready for such a tough race. It’s the businesses that give up a bit of their profits to support us through sponsorship. It’s the community, not just of Fort Wayne but well outside our wonderful city limits, because we’ve been getting donations from upwards of 15-20 states, who so generously give of their hard earned money to support amazing charities like NeighborLink Fort Wayne.

All of those things come together to make, for the exception of one pandemic filled and cancelled year, a runaway train of goodness, kindness, and support for what Team Runners Doing Good does because without it, just like I mentioned at the beginning…..this is doing and achieving something “together that we could never have done alone.”

And that’s why we participate in Ragnar Relays. It simply sets the tone for our team and for our mission.

Now you know and with that, here’s some pictures from past races we’ve participated in, Ragnar Relay Chicago (’15, ’16, & ’17) and Ragnar Relay Michigan (’18 & ’19). As you can see, it’s a blast!

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