Swinerton Sends Three Teams on 200-Mile Relay RaceContributor: Swinerton Blogger | June 25, 2013
More than 30 Swinerton employees participated in the 2013 Ragnar Relay SoCal, which helped raise funds for The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society’s Team In Training. Spread over a course of two days and one night, Ragnar is a 200-mile race that winds from Huntington Beach through the Inland Empire, before finishing at San Diego’s Embarcadero. The race traces it origins back to 2004, where the founders first held a 188-mile race through Utah’s Wasatch Mountains. Beginning as a single race, it has become the country’s largest overnight relay series. The race is named after a 9th-century Scandinavian king who, according to Ragnar’s official website, was “a conqueror, a wild man, a leader, fearless and free-spirited.” The participants often dress up in colorful and outlandish outfits, trying to harness some of Ragnar’s mystical power to get them through the finish line.
A maximum of 12 runners are allowed per team, while two support vehicles are permitted for supplies and transport. The race is broken up into 36 legs, ranging from five to ten miles, with varying degrees of difficulty. Most runners ran three legs each, spaced out through the race to conserve maximum energy. Some legs occurred during the dead of night, where runners were treated with thousands of stars overhead. Other legs took place in the midday heat, with the high desert sun baking the asphalt. Runners made sure to keep hydrated during these legs, while the support vans made a conscious effort to stay close by.
After trying—and typically failing—to sleep in the van for a few hours overnight, the teams worked off of pure adrenaline on day two. After all, Ragnar’s motto is, “Run, Drive, Sleep?—Repeat!” While the runners were on the course, one of the vans would typically get food and water for them to have when they were through. During the 30+ hours they were together, countless amounts of energy bars, protein gels, Gatorade, and fruit were consumed. In that same time, exactly zero real showers were taken. Music kept the support vans rocking through the late-night hours, while racers played various road-trip games to keep their minds loose. Most importantly, however, the teammates bonded with each other by swapping personal stories about their families, their interests, and their beliefs. Here are some of their thoughts:
My favorite thing about Ragnar is the team aspect of the race. This unique experience has allowed me to develop even better relationships with my co-workers, which creates a strong sense of community/family within our company. –Bobby Van Hollebeke
The best part was hanging out with everyone in the car and hearing different parts of their lives that I otherwise may have never found out. –Joe Neilly.
Take three great races with 11 of your soon-to-be close friends and connect them with a 30-hour road rally and you get Ragnar. –Jef Farrell
To sum it up for myself, it would be “team work.” Throughout the entire event, everyone is continually supporting one another. If you felt you couldn’t continue, someone was always there to pick you up. –Derek Mosiman
The best part about Ragnar is the camaraderie of the team and the ability to stay up for 30+ hrs while still finding enough energy to cheer on your teammates. The second-best part is that the San Diego team consistently leaves the Los Angeles and Orange County teams in the dust. –Bobby Jennings
It was really great to be in a group of diverse people—from project engineers to executives to risk management to marketing—and have so much fun doing something pretty crazy. –Jessica Drake