Ragnar route a success | ParkRecord.com

Ragnar route a success

In its 12th year, the Ragnar Relay race that began in Logan on Friday and ended at Soldier Hollow in Midway on Saturday followed a new course, which Ragnar Co-Founder and President Tanner Bell said proved a big success.

After ending at Park City High School the past few years, this year’s race had runners pass through Park City en route to the finish line at Soldier Hollow.

"I thought it was great," Bell said. "It really lived up to our desire to have this iconic mountain finish. It’s such a beautiful area surrounded by awesome peaks."

In years past, the toughest leg of the race, called the "Ragnar Leg," had runners going from Midway up and over Guardsman Pass. This year, the Ragnar Leg started at Park City High School and traveled up Deer Valley’s terrain to the top of Guardsman.

Bell said from the small sample of runners he’s talked to, that leg was quite popular.

"I think people are still recovering," he said. "We’re looking forward to sending out our survey and seeing what people thought. It was a pretty hard leg and it was hot, but the people who finished it had a great sense of accomplishment."

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The overnight race afforded some runners cooler temperatures, Bell said. But, he added, for those who had to run during the hottest parts of the day, the Ragnar staff and volunteers helped to keep them aware and hydrated.

"I can remember one other year, probably seven years ago, that was pretty hot," he said. "But this was definitely the hottest race we’ve had here in recent memory. We do a lot of education for our runners. We have a lot of pre-race education and safety briefings before the race. Water stations are available every few miles on longer legs with no van support. We also send out text reminders to runners and support vans about high eat and reminding them to stay hydrated."

Bell said communities along the race route also helped keep the runners cool.

"We love getting the community out," he said. "I saw a lot of people out spraying runners with squirt guns and hoses as they were running by to cool them off."

The death of 46-year-old Parkite Tyler Rasch early Friday was tough, Bell said, for everyone from runners to Ragnar staff to volunteers to spectators.

"We’re doing everything we can to respect the family’s wishes and respect their privacy," he said. "Our hearts go out to the family. It’s something that affects the entire running community in Utah and our staff and volunteers."

Friends of the Rasch family came to the finish line at Soldier Hollow on Saturday, where Bell said the compassion of Ragnar participants was on full display.

"I think Ragnar is a tribe of people that care about each other and want to see everyone make it to the finish line," he said. "People were pretty concerned and caring about the family. We were excited to see that Ragnarians were opening their hearts to the family and supporting them any way they could. Some of it was financial, but some was just coming by the booth and shedding a tear or offering support."

Going into next year, Bell said the Ragnar staff will review this year’s race before deciding whether to keep this year’s course the same.

"I think [Soldier Hollow] was a great finish line," he said. "We enjoyed the change and the participants enjoyed the change. We’ll more than likely look at finishing at Soldier Hollow again next year, but we’re certainly open to all the opportunities in front of us."

Keeping Park City as a major leg of the relay is important to Bell and the rest of the organizers.

"Park City has been such an integral part of our race, so we always want to make sure it plays a big part in the future," he said. "Park City will always be a part of what we do and who we are."

Registration for next year’s Ragnar Relay will open soon, Bell said.

"We generally wait until after the race to make the decision on when to open registration, but it’ll probably be in two weeks or so."

To register for next year’s Wasatch Back race, or to find other Ragnar events across the country, visit http://www.ragnarrelay.com .