Sunday, September 29, 2013

SMUrfs complete 200-mile Ragnar Relay

By Katy Teske
Cardinal Staff

Running nearly 200 miles of open road, the SMUrfs (Saint Mary’s University running fools) completed the overnight Ragnar relay race, which began in Winona on Aug. 16, and ended in downtown Minneapolis on Aug 17. 

The SMUrfs, a team representing SMU faculty and community members, finished with a time of 35:02:58, placed 283 out of over 300 teams, and 172 out of 182 in their division. The team also won the Nom de Plume award for best team name.

The Great River Ragnar Relay is one of many Ragnar events across the country and is the second oldest Ragnar relay in the series. From Winona, it runs through Wisconsin to Stillwater, then curves southwest into Minneapolis. Each team covers the same route, but start times vary so that all teams reach Minneapolis around the same time. The SMUrfs began bright and early, leaving Winona at 6 a.m.

Each team has 12 runners, and each runner runs two or three legs. Each leg is about three to six miles, depending on the difficulty. Only one person runs at a time, and after each leg, another runner steps in. While each teammate runs, the rest are following in two vans. One van containing upcoming runners stays with the current runner to cheer them on, while the other van goes ahead so those who don’t run for a while can get some rest.

Anyone can participate, and it is a way to challenge oneself both mentally and physically. Participants range from elite runners to novice joggers, and are a wide range of ages. For many of the SMUrfs, it was the mental challenge that really tested them.

The combination of having to run five or six miles and waiting between legs, plus getting very little sleep, is mentally fatiguing. SMUrfs Dorothy Diehl and Dean Beckman said the wait was the most mentally challenging part of the race.

The SMUrf team ran for the personal challenge, and not to be number one. Beckman and Diehl stated they are happy they participated, and Diehl can now “check it off her bucket list.”  

Beckman ran the final leg of the race wearing a Smurf costume. At the end of the relay, a big celebration was open for all teams, but Beckman noted, “I couldn’t wait to get back to Winona and sleep in my own bed.”

Team Members and SMUrf names
1. Erin Buchanan (Captain)
2. Dorothy Diehl (Bailey)
3. Megan O’Connell (Sassette)
4. Katie Strangstalien (Chiro)
5. Trisha Karr (Karr-azy)
6. Kelly Momsen (Knitty)
7. Deb Pattee (Happy)
8. Randy Krainock (Whatever)
9. Rob Gordon (Big Mouth)
10. Steve Pattee (Puddleglum)
11. Michelle Cochran (Nature)
12. Dean Beckman (Jokey)
Van 1 Driver- Peggy Johnson (Perky)
Van 2 Driver- John Schollmeier (Grouchy)
Team Volunteers- Jason Strangstalien, Kurt Karr, Melissa Grodon
Team shirts- designed by Lisa Traux

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