Home » Race Recap: Ragnar Trail Series Wawayanda Lake, NJ

Race Recap: Ragnar Trail Series Wawayanda Lake, NJ

It’s now late Tuesday night and the Ragnover is starting to wear off… not too much though and I’m definitely still missing my teammates from the weekend.

I’ve gone over what a road Ragnar is in previous posts (PA 2017, ADK 2016, Cape Cod 2016) but have yet to do a trail Ragnar and it is quite different. Rather than piling 12 runners (and two drivers) into two vans and leap frogging for over 24 hours, Ragnar Trail has a smaller team of 8 that camps out for 24 hours or so in one spot. There are three loops that are mapped out and each runner does every loop one time throughout the 24+ hour time period. There is a transition area where you meet your runner and swap a bib that is on a belt. Super simple, right?

Our team, Strong Hearts Vegan Power, put up two teams. One was a regular group of 8 and that included Jess, Alex, Sam, Dana, Libby, Brett, Kate and myself; we’d each be doing roughly 16 miles. We also had a 4 person ultra team consisting of Jay, Johnny, Marie and Aaron; those crazies would be doing twice the mileage which is basically a 50k!

We were extremely lucky to have won the REI Premiere Camp Site. What that meant was that we really didn’t need to bring a ton of camping supplies. They provided:

  • REI Kingdom Tents
  • REI Folding cots
  • REI Camp X chairs
  • REI Camp Roll table
  • GCI Slim Fold table
  • REI Alcove
  • REI Alcove Walls
  • GSI Outdoors Pioneer Table Set
  • Yeti Tundra 50 Cooler
  • Jetboil Joule Stove
  • 2-Burner Coleman Cooking Stove
  • REI French Press Coffee Maker
  • Knife and Cutting Board
  • Campsite Lanterns

How can you beat that? We just had to bring delicious vegan grub, our sleeping bags and whatever else we wanted to bring along and run our loops. I brought Leah’s homemade banana bread which has become a staple at each Ragnar (thanks love for making it), I also made a couple of slabs of seitan ribs which I’m still perfecting, but they were still a hit as well.

One of our team members, Brett, brought another alcove style tent where he created an amazing spread of vegan cookies and candies as well as some promo material that Jason Young had printed out that explained our mission statement and a little intro to veganism for those that were interested. The table (cookies) was a hit and we talked to so many people. They were amazed at how good cookies were, as if somehow them being vegan automatically made them taste like dirt or something. Well, after this weekend the secret is out, they taste FANTASTIC!

Our start time was at about 11am and our first runner was Sam. He took off and ran the green loop, which is a 3.9 mile loop that starts on the beach so it kind of saps your legs from the get go. From their it goes through some of the camping area and then onto a fire road where it’s relatively flat for a couple miles. It then merges with the yellow loop and hits a pretty good elevation gain with some gnarly rocks and roots. Shortly after it catches up with the red loops and you hit some more camps and then back to the beach to hit the transition tent.

Sam passed the bib belt to Alex and it was off to the yellow loop for Alex. The yellow loop was 5.1 miles yet that’s about all I know of it. I did the yellow loop at night so I didn’t see much of it. It was certainly more challenging than the green and it was a step up in technicality. I do remember having to walk at one point, one of the uphills was full of roots and a good amount of them were hidden under newly fallen leaves. I wasn’t looking to twist and ankle or anything so I took those sections easy.

After Alex met back up with the other loops and brought it to the transition tent it was my turn. I had the red loop for my first run of the day. The red loop weighed in at 6.7 miles and was listed as the hardest of the three. You want to talk roots? This one had roots all day long. If you weren’t picking your feet up than you were hitting the deck after a trip. Running this one in the daytime was amazing as it wrapped around Wawayanda Lake and the views were absolutely stunning. Being fall in the northeast, the leaves are changing and it’s easy to take your eyes off the roots and rocks. Yes, there were rocks too. There was this one little neat spot I really enjoyed and that was the rock bridges that went across a swampy area. This was a great run, it would have been an even better hike since it was so gorgeous.

After meeting up with the other loops it was Kate’s turn to hit course and on and one until we cycled through the team.

Comparatively speaking, this Ragnar may have been one of my favorites. I really enjoyed the way the race was put together and how it brought the teams together in a way that rushing from exchange to exchange couldn’t do. For those that went on the SHVP camping excursion over the summer, just add some trail loops and a relay and that’s what this was. It was so chill and it really allowed us to come together and enjoy the company of our teammates.

Do we want to compare the amount of sleep you actually get too? I got at least four hours during the night, that was glorious. Johnny Hero slayed us all in the sleep department though, I think the only time he was awake was when he was running! HAHA!

I love road Ragnars, do not get me wrong. I’m in for ADK as soon as the team starts putting together a roster. But I’d happily jump in on a trail one again and again. Here’s hoping us Massachusetts folk can convince the rest of the team to come do the New England trail race. That would be awesome!

I love this race!

I love this team!

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