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Ragnar Northwest Passage – Pre-Race

[Bellingham, WA, Thu, July 12, 2018]

Those of you who’ve been with me for a while may remember our previous Ragnar adventure in Hawaii. That was back in 2016. Our crew likes to get together for a running trip once a year for either a national park half marathon or a ragnar, and this year’s honors fell to Ragnar Northwest Passage.

The course for this race runs from Blaine, WA, near the Canadian border, to Langley, WA. You can see the course on the map below.

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The distance is just under 200 miles, and our team of 12 runners took turns running 3 legs per person to cover it. This means we are running at night as well. You don’t stop until you finish! Thankfully, we had the option of splitting the team into 2 vans, so each van had a few hours’ break while the other van was running. Still, each runner ends up covering anywhere from 10-20 miles over a day and a half with little sleep. It’s definitely not easy! The leg in red is the hardest leg on the course, also known as the Ragnar leg. The runner who covers this leg gets an extra medal.

The race started on Friday, July 13. We all arrived in Seattle the previous day, Thursday. We were on several different flights and some of us were coming from places other than LA, and this made for a nice reunion at the airport.

We rented our vans and headed North to Bellingham, WA, where we were spending the night. First order of business was the Ragnar expo, where we checked in, completed the safety briefing, and picked up various things for the race such as our bibs, van stickers, orange safety flags and t-shirts. Lena won the award for best Ragnar spirit with her orange wig.

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Next, we got started on our van decorations and purchased food for the trip since we didn’t know when or where we’d be able to get a sit-down meal again.

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We track completed legs on our van. Wendy got attacked by a clown during our 2016 Ragnar, and the clown jokes have been going strong ever since. The clown was a cheeky local who thought it would be funny to dress up and jump out of the bushes in the middle of the night to scare runners. Not cool!

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This is our magnet. It’s a Ragnar tradition to “tag” other vans with a magnet. This is the same logo as the one we used on our team shirts.

In the evening, we went for a nice meal at Boundary Bay Brewery in Bellingham. We were all marveling at how late the sun sets this far North this time of the year – around 9 pm!

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Our start time was 7 am the next day, so we wrapped it up shortly after that and went back to the hotel to get the last good sleep we were gonna get for the next 48 hours.

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