Having already covered the top 10 things to pack for an overnight cross country running relay, here are things you might think you’ll need but can actually leave off your list:
1) Extra clothes. You won’t need them. In a relatively accessible bag, pack a “running outfit” for each of your three legs (we recommend packing each running outfit in a plastic bag so you can seal it back in that bag when it’s sweaty), something comfortable to wear in the van, and a weatherproof jacket along with some basic toiletries to keep you human. In a small, separate bag that can be easily stowed underneath a van seat, pack the rest of your toiletries, a change of clothes for the restaurant and/or bars you’ll party at after the relay and maybe a swimsuit if your hotel has an ocean/lake/swimming pool/hot tub. If you’ll be in a cold location, bring an extra long sleeve layer, gloves, a hoodie and a hat. That’s all you need. Don’t waste space on any other clothes, and no one will look cute anyway. We won’t tell anyone if you were the same jeans before and after the race.
2) Food for everyone. Don’t make a bunch of PB&J for everyone in the van. Maybe you’re all friends, but not everyone likes the same thing. Sometimes, you just want to get out of the van and sit down for a normal meal, too. Before the relay starts, find out what’s being served at the major exchange points. Map out restaurants that will be open near the major exchange points. For snacks in the van, let everyone bring their own food with the intent of sharing some of it with the rest of the van. Everyone has different tastes and this is especially true before and after a run.
3) Alcohol. While it may be tempting to throw back a few celebratory brews at major exchange points or immediately following your legs, it is against the rules in the Ragnar Relay Series and most other overnight cross country relays. You’ll need to stay hydrated anyway. Save the alcohol for the finish line where there will be plenty of time to bond with your teammates and fellow competitors while sharing stories of your relay experience.
4) Camp chairs. There’s not as much down time as you think during an overnight relay. Sure, you may spend 5-6 hours at each major exchange point, but after your first major exchange, you’ll be spending most of your down time in the prone position. You get to sit all day in the van, so sitting is that last position you’ll want to be in when you’re at a major exchange. Don’t take up valuable van space with chairs. That space is much better used for compact sleeping bags, blankets and a tent.
Having lots of space in the van goes a long way toward everyone’s comfort during an overnight cross country running relay. So, don’t clog that space with useless items. Pack the essentials and leave the rest at home. Then, remember to have fun and soak up the scenery with your teammates. There are far worse ways to spend a weekend!
For a list of what we DO recommend packing, click here: http://www.digitalrunning.com/931/top-10-items-to-pack-for-a-ragnar-relay