I’m not a fan of humblebraggers. They’re everywhere on social media, but you also see a goodly amount of humble bragging on the roadway through bumper stickers. You know, the people that feel the world should know the they ran a marathon once and humbly brag about it with their beloved 26.2 oval sticker. The same is true for the 13.1, 10k, and 5k stickers. And really? A 5k sticker? Yikes. A 5k is great, but please don’t waste a label on it. Then, there’s those, like me, who poke a little fun at humble braggers by placing a 0.0 oval sticker on the back window.
There was one sticker, though, that caught my attention. It said 200.0. Excuse me!? A 200-mile race? Well, as it turns out, the person achieved the 200-mile bragging rights by completing a 200-mile Ragnar Relay. Because a relay has multiple runners dividing up the total distance, having a 200-mile sticker is a little overkill because technically, each runner only runs about 10% of the entire relay distance. The rest is divvied up among the other racers.
Nonetheless, the 200.0 oval sticker caught my attention, and I Googled to learn more.
The Ragnar Relay (or Ragnar for short) is a super widespread phenomenon. It’s more of a team-building exercise than a competitive race. It welcomes and attracts racers from all skill-levels including novices. The way I see it, the Ragnar is a perfect first race for beginner runners.
Because the Ragnar isn’t driven by competition, beginner runners will feel less inclined to push themselves beyond a safe pace for their skill and level-of-preparation. When I ran my first Ragnar, I saw relay teams made up of family reunion groups, cancer survivors, university classmates, office pals, etc. It’s essential to choose a team that mirrors your same level of skill, though.
So, whether you’re one of those 26.2-oval-sticker humble braggers or one who rolls their eyes at the sight of such stickers, just remember, humans were designed to be runners. And just because you’re designed to be runner doesn’t mean you have to be a competitive racer. That’s why the Ragnar is a perfect “first race.” It has all the significant elements of a long race, but removes the stress of measuring-up against other, more serious, 26.2-oval-sticker-loving people.