The 10 Unspoken Rules of Running a Ragnar

Are you new to the overnight running relay craze where you pile 12 runners into two vans and conquer 200 miles of relay from point A to point B? Maybe you’re an accomplished Ragnarian who understand what it takes to earn what Runner’s World called one of The Coolest Race Medals. Regardless of whether you are a Ragnar veteran or newbie, there are certain unspoken rules that one should follow  to have the best Ragnar experience ever:

  1. Cheer for Everyone

Most people understand that in order to be a part of a successful team, you need to support each other. Cheering for teammates during a Ragnar is a give in. But what about runners on the course? Those guys and gals got up in the wee hours of the morning to make the trek to the start line. Why not make a stranger’s day? The support you show for other runner’s on the course is what makes Ragnar an awesome and unique experience. Ring your cowbells loud. Smile big. And high five volunteers, law enforcement, staff, and everyone else who is doing the best they can to make it to the finish line!

cheer for ever

  1. Train

You’re already a hero by committing to run Ragnar. Don’t be a hero by not training and putting yourself through hell on race day. Don’t be that guy or gal who shows up with literally no training. You’ll be much happier and much more willing to get in and out the van to cheer for your teammates if you’re not in pain. Plus you’ll reduce your risk of injury and be thankful the week after Ragnar. Not sure how to train? Check out our official training page, and start the PEAR Sports 12 week training program today!


  1. Your Team Doesn’t Care How Fast You Are

Should you train for Ragnar? Absolutely. Do you need to run as fast a FloJo? Absolutely not. At the end of the journey your team will not remember your mile split times or how many kills you had. They will remember your effort and attitude.

do your best

  1. Van Tags Are Meant to be Playful

Van tagging can be one of the most fun things that happen along the course at a Ragnar Relay. As a rule of thumb:

  • Keep van tags polite. No anatomical figures, curse words, etc.
  • Keep the tagging to the windows, not the body of the van/car.
  • Use paint markers specifically made for cars so the markings can easily be removed.
  • Better yet, invest in team magnets. They are more memorable, and it’s like you’re giving a present/souvenir to other vans who you tag.

van tagging

  1. Stay Organized

Your van becomes your home away from home during your Ragnar weekend… don’t let it look like a bomb went off. Keep your running essentials in a separate bag from your clothes, i.e. headlamp, safety vest, Clif Bar Shot Blocks, sunscreen, etc. We also advise putting your running clothes in zip lock bags, organized by which legs you’ll be running. You can then throw them back into the zip lock bag after you’re done running and keep your sweaty clothes separate from the rest of your stuff! Keep a separate bag in your van for recycling and for trash. Don’t overpack food and clothes! Think: 2 days, 1 night.

  1. Pitch In and Drive

Everyone loves to stretch their legs in the back seat of the van and hang out with each other. The burden of driving and navigating the course shouldn’t be placed on one person. Of course each team will have a different dynamic, and you could have a person who loves to drive. Just be sure to find a balance that works for your team.

  1. Don’t Take “Passes” or “Kills” too Seriously

The tradition of counting the number of times you pass a runner on the course, and calling it a “kill” has been around a lot longer than Ragnar. Kills can be a fun motivator for teams, and aren’t meant to be a put down. If counting kills aren’t your thing, then don’t count kills. And if you’re on a team that counts kills, be sure to acknowledge those who you pass. A simple “good job runner,” goes a long way. Remember we’re all in this together!

  1. Respect the Communities You Run Through

You may or may not live along the route of the course of the Ragnar your running. As a rule of thumb, think of the whole 200 mile course as your hometown. Would you throw trash out of your car? Would you beep your horn in the middle of the night and wake your neighbors up? Would you show up to your local community church wearing something that could be offensive? We work really hard to establish relationships with local communities so we can leave a positive impact on the areas we run through. Lets work together to leave it better than we found it.

ragnar community

  1. Be Safe

It’s up to your and your team to be responsible and safe. Use your safety vests and flags. Don’t pull over in an area that’s not safe, even if it means your teammate won’t get van support. Drive the speed limit. Wear your seat belt. We won’t be holding your hand every step of the way on this 200 mile adventure. So please be safe. Even when we’re not looking.

       10. Go with the flow

Getting lost? Going to the wrong exchange? Stomach cramps? Getting rained on? All of these things can and will happen at a Ragnar. We believe there is an inverse relationship between the level of challenge overcome and amount of fun one has. Embrace the elements. Enjoy the journey, your surrounding and your teammates. It will go by all too fast.

Running a Ragnar Relay is a wild and incredible journey that will hopefully leave you coming back for more. What other unspoken rules of Ragnar do you abide by? Leave us a comment below!


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s