Ragnar relay returns this weekend
June 16, 2015
For the 12th year in a row, the Ragnar Relay race will return to the Wasatch Back. Starting Friday in Logan, the 200-mile overnight event will conclude on Saturday in Midway at Soldier Hollow.
After ending at Park City High School the last four years, Ragnar Co-Founder and President Tanner Bell said it was time to try something new.
"We’ve finished at Park City High for several years and they’ve been great and super-supportive," he said. "After four years, we’re just looking to change it up so our participants find something new and exciting. Soldier Hollow fit the bill — it’s a beautiful venue and it’s still on the Wasatch Back."
Though the course has been shifted a little bit, Bell said many of the same venues will still be used.
"We’ll still use Park City High," he said. "Some things have changed, but some are still the same."
In Summit County, North and South Summit High Schools will also be used as relay exchange points, in addition to PCHS. According to a press release, students at those sites will fundraise by "selling food, access to hot showers and indoor sleeping for runners."
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By ending at Soldier Hollow instead of at PCHS, Bell said the organizers had to switch the traditional "Ragnar Leg" to fit the course.
"Last year, the course went from Heber over Guardsman Pass into Park City," he said. "Now that we’re going the opposite direction, we looked at some of the options we had for that leg and we wanted to make sure it was still the most epic leg we had. It starts at Park City High and runs through Deer Valley up to the top of Guardsman, where they’ll make an exchange."
Following a big thunderstorm on Monday night, and several weeks of rainy weather in the area, Bell is hoping for nice weather this weekend. But, he added, bad weather won’t affect the racers’ spirits.
"I haven’t gotten the weather update from our safety director yet, but we’ve dealt with good weather and bad weather in the past," he said. "The great thing about Ragnar and Ragnarians is that they just have an indomitable spirit. They’ll never quit and will always keep going."
Bell is expecting another huge turnout for this year’s Ragnar. He said it’s almost unbelievable how much the race has grown since 2004.
"We’ll have right around 12,000 runners again this year, which is about 950 teams," he said. "It’s been amazing to see it grow. It’s been a dream come true. To see what it’s become now — in 2004, we had 262 runners. Now we have 25 races around the country."
But, he added, the Wasatch Back race is near and dear to his heart.
"This is the original, the one that started it all," he said. "It’s kind of like a family reunion every year. It’s always a great time."
Registration always sells out quickly after it opens, so Bell said interested athletes should keep watch for the 2016 registration dates.
"We haven’t set the date yet, but it will be two to four weeks after this year’s event," he said. "I would say early- to mid-July. The earlier people sign up, the better."
Ragnar traffic conditions
Bell said traffic shouldn’t be too bad for Summit County residents this year.
"We’ll have the road in front of the high school that will have a lot of traffic," he said. "But, because it’s not the finish line, it’ll be less traffic than last year."
Other areas affected will include the Deer Valley area and Marsac Avenue, but Bell reiterated that the race shouldn’t prove too difficult for drivers to navigate.
"We don’t expect significant delays by any means," he said.
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