Local teams race in Ragnar Wasatch Back Relay

What is it about humans that gives some a taste for suffering?  Take the Ragnar Wasatch Back Relay, for instance. 

Taking turns running 180 miles over two days with little sleep in two vans, running four to eight miles at a time, uphill or down flat, gravel, paved, dirt roads, in the dead of night, the heat of day, or in the middle of a torrential rain storm. 

What’s the big deal?  According to the website, nothing brings out the wild side in all of us like the Ragnar. 

“Ninety eight percent of it is the dumbest thing I’ve ever done,” lamented one participant. 

The other two percent?  “Getting a Baconator at Wendy’s on the way home.” 

Even so, most of those participants found themselves planning for next year’s race already.  “We’ll need a bigger van,” says one. 

According to the website, Ragnar, for whom the race was named, “was a 9th century Norse King. He was a pirate, a raider, a conqueror, an explorer, and a wild man. The tough, fearless, rugged attributes of this Norse King are shared by all who participate in a Ragnar Relay.”

Quite a few locals participated, including Team Makin’ Bacon, participating for the third time.  And their experience shows as the team consisting of Lori Maughan, Tamra Lewis, Shanna (Lewis) Black, Michelle (Adams) Hyde, Diana (Barlow) Nielson, Ruth (Barlow) Mathusek, Trish Lewis, Alex Adams, Ruth Skouson and two Logan gals finished in an excellent time of 28 hours (yes... hours) 37 minutes and 32 seconds, good enough for eighth place in the women’s division. 

Another all-girls team from Monticello participated, for the second year in a row and finished the race with nearly everyone intact. 

The Smokin’ Hot Mammas, with Amy Westcott, Katy Nebeker, Alisa Nielson, Sumer Wilcox, Sylvia DeMille, Danielle Lewis, Ronnie Schultz, Tammy Wallace, Jenna LaRose, Laura Butler, Shannon Butler Young, and Sherrill Bowring completed the race in 33:50:52. 

Bowring takes the Iron Woman award, running her three legs and then filling in for the injured Shannon Butler Young for the most gruelingest leg of the race, a four mile stretch for which the race is named, Ragnar, that includes a climb of 1,631 feet over the four miles for an average grade of about eight percent. 

A third mostly Monticello team, Falling Behinds, finished in 32:35:06.  Bill and Lynda Boyle, Walter and Becky Bird, and Steve and Suzanne Duke teamed up with some Boyle relatives from out of town to do the Ragnar, the girls for the second time, the boys for the first. 

“Bitter and hateful,” moaned Becky Bird, who had to run her last leg in 42 degree weather.  “I was bundled up in a hoody, a jacket and another jacket just for the cold,” she said, only to have it begin raining, pouring rain, torrential rain. The rain quickly soaked Bird to the skin and added about 30 pounds of water to her uphill run.  Husband Walter ran alongside to offer support.  “Shoulda taken off the coats,” she lamented.

Kevin Webb, of Blanding, ran the Ragnar leg for a Blandingnite team named “Go the Distance-Kim Acton Memorial”. 

The coed team ran the race honoring the late Kim Acton, who was killed in a tragic plane crash last summer. 

It seems that as many of the team members were training over the last several years, including team captain Leann Parker, their early morning training runs often took them past Acton. 

He would always cheer them on and indicate that if he ever got his knees fixed, he would join them.  After his eventual knee surgery, he would tell them that after he recovered he would join them.  

The morning of the plane crash, the girls were in the middle of a 12 mile training run, when they heard the tragic news.

Since then they often thought it would be wonderful to honor Kim some way and “since Kim had the heart of 12 people and did the work of 12 men, we decided to honor him by running a relay with 12 people,” says Parker. 

So along with Webb, Leann and husband Steve, Holly Walker, Catherine Butler, Jens and Shelly Hurst, Debbie Pugh, Pam and Joe B. Lyman and Marcie and Brett Jacobsen, they ran with Kim on their minds. 

Webb fashioned a bear claw for teammembers to wear in honor of Acton, who, for those with BoyScouting awareness, was a member of the Bear Woodbadge Patrol, as is Webb and the late Brian Bayles, who was also killed in the plane crash.

“It was an honor to have Kim’s name on our shirts and in our hearts,” said Leann. 

There were a number of additional teams with local participants, and familiar faces all around. The Vernon Hatch/ Jeff Hunt team ran well, as did a Joe and Jesse Jensen group. Others who ran include a group with Janice Adams Lowe, and a team with Abbi and Matt Larson.

So the Ragnar.  An interesting event, not for the faint of heart, certainly a neurotic challenge.  Perhaps some team names, some of the nearly 750 teams entered, say it best. 

Who the Hill’s Idea Was This?  Walk Idiot Walk, You Can’t Fix Stupid, Flabs on Fire, 2 Days and Confused, 2 Slow 2 Win 2 Dumb 2 Quit, Stop Fighting or You’ll Have to get out of the Van and Run, Where’s the Finish Line, or Natso Macho Libre. 

But my favorite names are these three, Ignorance is Blissters, and the Latin Names Veni, Vedi, Cucurri (I came, I saw, I ran), and perhaps the most poignant of all Veni, Vedi, Vomiti, which needs no explanation.

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