Key West Ragnar Relay: A team effort

in Adventure Travel / Travel Fitness / USA
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NYC Swagnar miami ragnar relay 2013

12 wacky friends. 2 vans decorated with Christmas lights and disco balls. 196.9 miles from Miami to Key West. No sleep. A lot of giggling. Screaming and cheering for teammates in the middle of the night. Scrambling for shade from the blistering Florida sun. Blasting Lady Gaga, Pink and Jay-Z’s “Empire State of Mind” at each exchange point. Running until I threw up a bad decision that was an egg sandwich. Dancing across the road Gangnam Style. Krispy Kreme donuts. Victory cocktails.

That pretty much sums up my weekend running the 2013 Key West Ragnar Relay with “NYC Swagnar,” a team of 5 women and 7 men who run with the kind of guts and grit that inspires me.

I have lamented that my running training has dropped off since Ryan and I started sailing south, but this weekend off the boat with my New York running friends has inspired me to get back to pounding the pavement, sand and trails. Hell, I’ll run in circles on Hideaway’s deck if I have to. Mainly because I never want to run that far and hard again on so little training.

If this is the first time you’ve heard about the Ragnar Relay Series, the 12-person running events held all over the U.S., and you’re thinking you’ll never do one because it sounds crazy and like something designed for ultra-fit running fanatics, I’m here to convince you otherwise. These races are definitely crazy…but in a good-for-everyone kind of way. And they’re definitely not for the ultra-fit alone. There is a place for every kind of enthusiast – fit or unfit – in the Ragnar Relay, whether your thing is costumes, drinking beer, weight loss, charity, having a fitness goal or just hanging out with friends in a beautiful place like Key West.

There were teams in the Key West Ragnar running in prom dresses and tutus, teams of new runners who were walking or jogging 11 and 12-minute-miles, and teams with a great sense of humor, like the gay men’s team called “Can’t Even Run Str8,” who gave out Mardi Gras beads at every relay exchange. We even met the “Biggest Loser” Team (from the TV show), all of whose runners lost 90-150 pounds each before doing the race. How inspiring is that?

And then there was us: NYC Swagnar. We were running to Key West for the second year in a row. Sure, we had a blast, dance-partying our way through the relay exchanges; but we were definitely there to run and run hard. We were running to have fun and beat our previous year’s time.

And not only did we beat our time by 45 minutes, but we also beat 350 other teams in the co-ed division to WIN the race in 26 hours 17 minutes and 54 seconds! That’s right! We WON!!! Sure, I’m still having trouble walking after running a brutal 18 miles, but who cares?! WE WON!!!

I know, bragging’s not polite. But for a good 24 hours after we got our awards, we milked that First Place win for everything it was worth in Key West. Free shots, song requests, dancing on the bar; you name it. It may not have been the classiest picture of victory…But, hey, what happens in Key West stays in Key West.

And now that the fun is over, it’s time to get training for next year! After all, we have a title to defend!

If that doesn’t inspire me to get off the boat to run this year, I don’t know what will.

ragnar miami pre-race

My NYC running buddy Katherine and me, getting ready for our 2nd Ragnar Relay together.

miami key west ragnar relay 2013

And she’s off! Jessie, Runner #1, kicking off the race

miami key west ragnar exchange

Adam, Runner #11, taking off for his sunrise run after a sleepless night

tasha hacker ragnar relay 2013

“Hey, there’s a whole team of people wearing my shorts! Get a picture!”

ragnar relay miami finish 2013

Sarah and me, celebrating our 3rd Ragnar Relay together at the Southernmost Point of the U.S.

key west ragnar relay 2013 first place team

NYC Swagnar, holding up our First Place batons.

coyote ugly key west

What happens in Key West, stays in Key West.

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5 Comments... Read them below or add one of your own
  • Lorraine Dolsen January 9, 2013, 6:41 am

    Congratulations!

    • Tasha January 9, 2013, 5:16 pm

      Thanks, Lorraine!

  • Mid-Life Cruising! January 9, 2013, 8:44 am

    This sounds so fun … and in Key West! Congrats on the win, and good times with friends!

    • Tasha January 9, 2013, 5:16 pm

      Key West is a lot of fun! As is running there!

  • Gerardo August 22, 2015, 5:16 pm

    Hi there! Your race schedule looks simialr to mine. I’m running the Rock and Roll half and doing the Ragnar Relay (team Casual Encounters). You will LOVE the experience…it can’t be described to anyone who hasn’t done it before. I just signed up for the Warrior Dash the weekend of July 16, otherwise I would have loved to do the See Jane Run half!Good luck with your training and I would be interested in a blogger meetup if you organize one, although I’m too much a blogger quite yet!-Laurenmarathonlar@live.com

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