Ragnar Trail: McDowell Mountain Review

Ragnar, you’ve done it again. This was my 6th Ragnar ever, but my first trail Ragnar. I’ve gotta say, it was pretty awesome.

The Good:

Trails were well-chosen, well-marked, and generally fun.

The volunteers at the exchange were efficient.

The TV screens that alerted you to when you runner was 0.4 miles out were awesome – they went down a few times early in the race, but were like 95% functional and really helpful.

I never had to wait to use a bathroom. Ever. They brought in these eco-friendly porta-potties that were MUCH better than the regular ones, too.

The campfire at night, free s’mores, free coffee, free Nuun… all were wonderful to have

Dinner was included. It was nothing amazing (pasta, sauce, spring mix, roll, cookie), but was dished out efficiently, tasty, and filling.

There was a beer truck.

Demo tent where you could borrow Solomon shoes (which I did!) or a Suunto watch for your run.

Bands at the exchange/finish area – and random contests and giveaways… yes, I got a free CLIF bar coffee mug for this being my 6th Ragnar.

The Bad:

They asked teams to take up about 17’x17’ of space for their camps. That did not happen, and it was not enforced. It got crowded. (Thanks to three AMAZING teammates, we had a spot as soon as the campground opened though!)

The cell phone charging station could only handle ~25 phones at a time. It’s a nice feature to have, but it was useless to most people. And the people running it would let you stand in line without letting you know that all of the chargers were full.

The breakfast food truck was not prepared to handle the crowd!

The Ugly:

Lot of heat related issues – they did stress that there was only one aid station, and it was on the long trail, but a lot of runners out there simply weren’t prepared. 85 degrees in the desert with the sun beating down is ROUGH! I ran with my camelbak even on my short runs and my night runs – and was thankful I did. It was dry and dusty out there! I will say that the med tent seemed prepared with ice baths and IVs.

Compared to a road Ragnar Relay:

It was way more relaxing, though I felt less involved with the person running. There was only one trail that you could easily access from the campsite, and we’d hop out and meet one of our runners to cheer and take pictures. BUT, it was nice to greet a runner and see the next one off, then go hang out in the camp chairs in the shade.

So much cheaper! No vans, no hotel…

Everyone eventually running all of the same trails as each other was fun – you could get/share lots of info on what to expect on each leg.

Trail runs can be challenging at night. I only near-faceplanted once! If you do one of these, please be prepared!

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3 responses to “Ragnar Trail: McDowell Mountain Review

  1. Nice write-up :)

  2. Yay sounds awesome. After running detroit half on Sunday. I am done for a while. I am good and sore. I don’t know how you do it and make it seem so easy. Congrats.

  3. Yeah the breakfast situation was bad – totally forgot to add that in my blog post. :) I loved the s’mores and campfire, so much fun!

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