So literally two days after finishing Ragnar Chicago, a friend who also ran Chicago, but on another team, approached me asking if I would want to run another Ragnar this season. Coming off a Ragnar high of course I agreed! We were able to form a kick ass all women ultra team for Great River
Compared to Ragnar Chicago, Great River was extremely more organized. The area experienced lots of flooding the day before and as a result Ragnar had to cancel a few legs. Communication of what was happening went out the night before and their plan was very clear. While Chicago had to made adjustments mid race instead which is harder communication was choppy and unclear. As captain during both races I received lots of text updates throughout Great River, while this was not the case during the Chicago Ragnar. Volunteers at checkpoints also seemed more informed about what was going on over the course to clarify any questions.
I enjoyed the course overall, but it was a lot more highway running then I was expecting. A lot of the legs used the shoulder of main roads. For it being along the highway there were still some very pretty views, but I would have like it to be more through towns or on smaller roads. Parts of the course was hilly, but we knew that going in. The volunteers were also fabulous and very friendly!
I only had one major complaint of Great River. On my 5th leg, I had to run through a horse trail that went through a forrest. When our team got to the leg it was around 3 am. Therefore, it was pitch black on the trail. We also at this point only had about 10-15 teams ahead of us, so the whole 4+ miles I was on the course I saw no one! I am used to running alone all the time and often in the dark, but I legit was literally scared running this trail. There were no volunteers and seeing no other runners while you can’t see and don’t know your surroundings is very frightening. To make matters worse, the trail was not a flat easy trail. Instead, it was a rocky trail and I was looking straight down the whole entire time because I had to watch every step I look to ensure I would not lose my footing or step in a hole. The trail towards the end also became very hilly. I was having to use my hands to get down the hills so I would get down them safely. There were several moments on the trail where I almost broke down into tears because I just wanted to be safe and off the trail. While I know, it would probably be unrealistic for Ragnar to have a volunteer (or probably 2 so they wouldn’t have to be alone) available halfway through the trail to provide any runner support, it would have been a huge benefit. Safety of participants is a big deal and I have never felt so unsafe than running this trail alone in the dark.
Minus my 5th leg, I had a blast and another great Ragnar experience. My team “Girls Gone Ultra” also killed it and we we got 2nd place in the Women Ultra Division! I will definitely be running another Ragnar next season!