A spot opened up on my friends Ragnar Trail New England Team and I got in last minute to run last weekend!
I’ve done Ragnar Relay Adirondacks a few times now so I was pretty pumped to try their trail relay. It was held in Northfield, Massachusetts, about 2 hours from Albany, at Northfield Mountain Recreation and Environment Center.
The concept behind Ragnar Trail is a lot different from their regular road relay. A team consists of 8 runners and you set up a “base camp” at the location.
Each runner has three trail loops to complete and each runner runs the same amount. For us it was the green loop of 3.5 miles, followed by the yellow loop of 4.8 miles, and finally the red loop of 6.7 miles.
Our team captain Loretta set it up so we actually had two teams so we could double up and run with a partner, which in the end was a fantastic idea.
The day on Friday began early–we got to Northfield Mountain at about 9:30AM. I was runner eight so I had a while to wait to run my first leg with Loretta who was my team partner. The weather forecast for the weekend looked grim, but it turned out to be a beautiful weekend! Such good luck.
I hung out with my team at the start/finish area watching runners come in.
Finally, at around 11:30PM, Loretta and I started our first leg.
It was my first time trail running at night, but we were prepared. I carried a small flashlight and wore a headlamp. It was pretty thrilling out there! My first leg was supposed to be the yellow loop, but because we were so behind on time due to our pace as a team, Loretta and I decided to run the shorter green loop instead. We definitely weren’t in this for any prizes so we knew it was okay.
I didn’t connect the app until about a half a mile in, so the pace is a little off for this leg. I was pleased at how strong I felt on the trail! After we finished, our two Runner 1s were up for their longest leg. Loretta and I went back to camp and enjoyed a hard cider and a late night snack. Then I went to bed until about 7am. Another awesome aspect of this race–no sleeping in vans! My second leg, the actual green loop, was next up at about 9:30AM! The hardest part about all of the loops was that the first mile or so was directly uphill.
Because we were so far behind on time there was no way we could actually finish in time. Ragnar let us start to double up on runners so we could all finish our legs. Everyone who had the red loop remaining was going to run the red loop (that would be me!) and everyone with the yellow loop left was going to run yellow and so on. About an hour after my second leg, it was time to run the most difficult loop, red.
Teammates going in to run the red loop.
Since we were each pretty tired and this trail was so steep, we hiked the majority of it. We knew we would finish the 6.7 miles in about 2 hours. Karen and I decided when we saw the time at 6 miles in that we would aim for a time under 2 hours. We did it!
Check out that elevation profile!
Needless to say, it was tough! At about 5:30PM when everyone had finished their loops, our team finished!
Overall, Ragnar Trail was a great experience and a really fun time. Ragnar really knows how to organize events and they did a great job with this one also. I would really recommend it!