Who wants to run 200 miles? That was the invitation to run Ragnar I sent out this year and KPFF Ragnar, our team of twelve, rose to the challenge. Our team comprised of eight KPFF employees: Allen, Liz, Alex, Abigail, Eric, Albina, Jacob and I; and four were friends of KPFF: Alexander C., Kimberly, Cody, and Alexander B. Over the course of nearly thirty hours our team would have to run continuously through rain or shine, hot and cold, night and day from the starting line on the sands of Huntington Beach to the finish line on picturesque waters at 200 Marina Park Way in San Diego. It was a tall order, but I had plenty of faith in our team. We had just completed months of training; we had two SUVs loaded with food, water, and supplies, and our other logistics were worked out perfectly. KPFF Ragnar was ready to put our plans into action.
On the morning of Friday April 6th we began our journey to traverse the miles that lay ahead. The cool breeze was promising and things were looking up. Our team ran our first and second legs without incident: we made it to our exchanges, no one got lost, and we were looking strong. I thought to myself, “This race isn’t so bad.” Then it was my turn. I was ready.
With a healthy amount of excited anticipation, I began running my first leg. After two miles, I was okay and I was passing people, but then I began to fixate on the heat and how thirsty I was. Over a stretch of black asphalt I could see the flames coming out of my shoes. When I came up to pass the next person, I gave the best “Good job! Keep going!” I could, but I was too encouraging because she started running faster! I had to speed up to get ahead and then I had to keep running that fast to stay there. For the next several miles, I ran faster than I wanted with a fast runner on my tail and my heat problem not getting any better. For miles I entertained the thought of giving up, but near mile six my team came to the rescue with ice-cold water. I took a few big gulps and poured the rest over my head. I could finally shift my thoughts away from the pain and confidently maintain my pace through to the end of my leg where I passed the slap bracelet on to our next runner. The fading memory of just how hard it can be to race was renewed in my mind.
Running my leg helped me really appreciate the team’s encouragement and support and soon they would be put to use again. All seemed well as each runner completed their first legs, but in the other SUV the signs that our twelfth runner was getting sick started to show. It seemed like he might have food poisoning. Despite his condition, runner twelve began his leg of the race. Everyone else had already run their own legs, so all the team could do now was wait as runner twelve struggled with the miles of his own leg. Sure enough, word came that runner twelve could not finish. Some tough decisions had to be made quickly. After some deliberation, two runners in the other SUV volunteered to run the first and second leg of three legs for runner twelve, earning them hero status in my eyes. Finishing the race was not easy, but through persistence, drive, teamwork, and sacrifice, we pushed through the first 35 legs of the race. Still an open question though was “Who is going to run leg 36—runner twelve’s final leg? Despite having been sick, runner twelve decided to give it another shot. He successfully ran his final leg and the team joined for a victory run with runner twelve through the finish line.
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