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Ragnar Las Vegas: Making the Best out of a Bummer

by Rhielle Widders

For years I have wanted to do a Ragnar event- a 12 person running relay covering nearly 200 miles and at least 30 hours of running fun- with my closest running friends.  I have participated in the Hood to Coast Relay in Oregon and enjoyed it but have never been able to participate in our famous Wasatch Back Relay due to working at a running store and competing with 25 other staff members to get the day off.  When I heard about the Las Vegas version, I thought it would be the perfect compromise- the relay is close enough to manage but far enough away that I was able to get the time off from working at the store.  I immediately went about recruiting members of our Saturday Morning Running Group to run the relay with me.

12 people later I made reservations for a home in Las Vegas, arranged to borrow large vehicles to pack my team around, organized the team into running legs, and tried to keep the team motivated with their training by sending periodic emails.  Everything was going great and the team was very motivated to run this exciting event…until things started falling apart.  About a month out, my team members started to drop like flies.  It seemed like the stars had aligned against us as everyone had legitimate reasons for not being able to do the event.  Even I ended up having surgery on a shattered finger only nine days before we were scheduled to run.  Just four days before we were scheduled to leave,  team “Salt Lake Running in Good Company” only 8 team members.  Regardless, excitement resonated through the team with the challenge of completing extra mileage. Only 72 hours before our event began, a message came that another team member would not be able to join.  With only 6.5 team members (I only counted as a partial member due to my partially dismembered finger) we decided to call it quits.  I have never dropped out of a race before and I have certainly never signed up for a race that I didn’t think I would start so making this decision was a hard one.   We had all signed up to have some running fun, not to run ourselves to the brink of  exhaustion and injury.

The team had paid for a house in Vegas so I offered to host a running vacation instead.  I picked put a few local trail runs and some fun activities that we could all enjoy and invited the team down to enjoy the time off while running.  A portion of the team took me up on the idea and we headed down to Sin City for some good ‘ol running fun.  What a great time we had!  We discovered Red Rock Canyon for trail running, found a little trail directly behind our rental home, and visited the new bridge at Hoover Dam that had opened only days before.  We enjoyed good food, good running, but most of all, we enjoyed the fact that we made the best out of a bummer.

So to all my fellow runners out there, I encourage you to evaluate all your sticky running situations and when life gives you mismatched shoes, put them on and go running anyway.

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