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Digital Running Club » Uncategorized » Introducing “The Lower Wacker Gang”

Introducing “The Lower Wacker Gang”

On June 8, The Lower Wacker Gang hit the starting line of the 2012 Chicago Ragnar Relay in Madison, WI. (Try to follow our Chicago mobster lingo…) With “Big Rods” and “Puff Boxes” in hand, we “beat it” all the way to Montrose Beach, “knocking off” our fellow competitors along the way.

Here’s a brief introduction to the team:

Van 1

Runner 1) Kathy (she’s the one on the right in the blue shirt) started running after doing the Breast Cancer 3-Day walk and deciding walking wasn’t fast enough. Her run pace isn’t a whole lot faster, but she’s happy to be the tortoise half of the tortoise-and-hare match-up. Kathy’s favorite race distance is 5K, but she’s recently started running other types of races (obstacles and relays and stairs, oh my!) and adding some distance events to her running repertoire (a few half marathons and two Ragnars this year, Chicago and TN.) One of her favorite reasons for running is to feed her peanut butter addiction (you’ll find pb&j stashed in her Ragnar supplies!). Kathy lives in Ann Arbor (Go Blue!) and works for a healthcare IT trade association based in Chicago. Yes, that is her twin sister in her photo. They’d like to start an all twin Ragnar team. Let us know if you are interested!

Runner 2) Heather and Runner 4) Justin were married 103 stories high at the Stratosphere Tower in Las Vegas – gangster! By day, Justin is a Payroll Specialist in Mendota Heights, MN, and does weekend warrior duty in the Army Reserve as a second in command of a Company sized unit. Heather, being slightly more gangster, is a full time Army Sergeant who prepares Soldiers for upcoming deployments. Both do their Army duty at Ft. Snelling, MN. But neither are big shoppers at the Mall of America – not gangster.

Justin’s running past includes two sprint triathlons and 10ks for Team Ortho in Minneapolis, and thousands (maybe slightly less) of 5ks across the country. Heather started her running addiction in the dusty desert of Iraq running 5ks and 10ks and one half marathon. Heather and Justin share an addiction to all Team Ortho runs. This is Heather and Justin’s first Ragnar, but not their last. Justin is Captain of team Nine Inch Snails for the Great River Ragnar in August in which Heather is also a proud teammate. Heather and Justin’s training routine for this Chicago Ragnar incorporates multiple viewings of “Public Enemies” and “Goodfellas” – Gangster! They plan to join Digital Running later this year at either the Napa or TN Ragnar.

Runner 3) Lyndsey is a recent graduate from South Dakota State University. Like the SDSU mascot, the jackrabbit, Lyndsey has always been runner! Never having tried extensive running, Ragnar provides more than enough of a challenge, but this South Dakota native feels up to the test of her distance skills! Lyndsey has always enjoyed a work out in organized sports, specializing in soccer. However, after several incidents involving a reoccurring Achilles tendon tear, contact sports proved to be rather hazardous. Since healing, Lyndsey has gained a deeper appreciation for running and is having a blast reaching new distances! Lyndsey’s sister Sarah talked her into coming along on the journey to the windy city. Lyndsey has always been a sports and travel enthusiast and was extremely excited to join the Lower Wacker Gang in a new adventure!

Runner 5) Sarah is a 25-year-old interior designer living in Sioux Falls, SD. She is no stranger to running, and Chicago was her second Ragnar Relay! One fateful night, Nate (runner #12) did the unthinkable and signed up to run Ragnar Florida Keys with a bunch of crazy strangers; everyone was worried he wouldn’t make it back alive. Lisa (runner #10, Nate’s wife) and Sarah intended on following Nate down to give him moral support and be there for anything he needed (actually they just wanted an excuse to go on vacation in Key West). A few weeks later they found out there were still a few open runner spots on the team, so Sarah jumped on board the crazy train and Lisa became a van support volunteer! Their small army of good ol’ South Dakotan runners and supporters had a great time in the state of Florida – so they’ve returned for more fun a little closer to home.

Runner 6 and Team Captain Brian Darrow grew up playing volleyball in the Midwest. He was talked into his first marathon in 2007, by a bourbon drinking, smoking graphic designer he met in a hotel bar in Atlanta. He is now an avid runner who e-coaches adults across the United States while coaching Jr. High and High School athletes in Cross Country and Track & Field at a small private school in Florida.

In his spare time, Brian enjoys driving sketchy white vans, decorating with Christmas lights and long runs with strangers in the middle of the night. He has a Ph.D. in Oceanography with a specialty in numerical modeling and has a mean Ragnar-estimated-times spreadsheet (Email us for a copy.) Madison to Chicago was Brian’s fourth Ragnar Relay of 2012. He lives in St. Petersburg, FL, with his wife, two teenage daughters and their dog, Kaboodles.

Van #1 Support staff

Team Mom Raffi has over 15 years of Mommy-ing under her belt. She’ll sort out the details before an event and make sure the juice boxes are kept on ice. As the online Editor of, her 17+ year of writing, marketing & graphic design experience come in handy. Her past experience includes stints with Mercury Records, Rolling Stone magazine and the St. Petersburg Times.Raffi is kind of a health nut, and loves Yoga, dark chocolate, Disney and reading. She lives in St. Petersburg, FL with her husband (Runner #6) and two teenage daughters. This was her 6th Ragnar Relay.

Van 2

Runner 7) Lauri likes to run and loves Christmas lights. She set a goal to run one race every month for a year beginning with the Chicago Hot Chocolate 15K in November 2010. She ran her last race, The Sno-fun race in Lake Geneva, WI, in January 2012. She ran 15 races, 7 different distances and placed in her age group (she can’t say what age group that was) 6 times. Woohoo! She had a dedicated driver, her husband Brien, who “volunteered” to drive Lauri and the friends she invited to the races, so he had to run too. What else was there to do?

Lauri ran the Chicago Ragnar with all new friends – not knowing anyone on the team in advance, and the biggest draw was the Christmas lights on the Digital Running vans. Lauri was happy to volunteer Brien to work on the Ragnar course, because, again, what else is there to do? And after the Ragnar – on to Warrior Dash!

Runner 8) Katie is a former middle distance runner (200,400,800) from the University of Sioux Falls. She is now a retired runner and has to sign up for races to keep herself motivated and in shape! She also spends a majority of her year coaching high school cross-country in the fall and 8th grade girls track in the spring. She has run 2 half marathons since graduating in 2009. Although Katie has never been a “true” long distance runner, she is finding longer races to be fun and enjoyable. Running has provided great experiences including travel to new places and meeting lots of cool and crazy runners! This was Katie’s first appearance at Ragnar – but hopefully not her last!

Runner 9) TerieĀ is a crazy high-school science teacher at a small high school near Rockford, Illinois, and has been teaching for the past 15 years. She is relatively new to running, starting two years ago to add some variety to her workouts as well as to make sure that a 16-year smoking habit didn’t rear its ugly head again. Since then she has run many 5ks, a few more 10Ks and six half-marathons, and cannot wait for this first Ragnar experience! When she’s not running around the country roads near her house being chased by farm dogs or startling livestock, she can usually be found chained to her computer writing something for her students, blogging about teaching, wasting time on Pinterest, or serving as primary slave to her two dogs, Sasha and Emma. She has been married to her dogs’ secondary slave, David, for 9 years. She’ll be joining Digital Running for another Ragnar later this year, and she wants in on the twin team!

Runner 10) Lisa is a novice runner who will will be running her first Ragnar Relay. One night she was sitting at the computer with a friend and her husband and thinking how insane it would be to do Ragnar Florida Keys. That was pondered for a bit, then let go thinking that maybe after they had a Ragnar closer to home under their belts they could conquer Florida. Little did she know that her husband (Nate, runner #12) had signed up to be found for a team, not thinking anyone would respond. A few months later, 5 friends from South Dakota were on their way to Miami where Lisa served as navigator of Glade-iators van #2.

Lisa is a self employed 26-year-old who loves her job. She gets to make people feel great about themselves everyday. She does so by removing their hair, or by making their hair amazing with color or with a cut. In other words she’s a hairstylist. She was born and raised in South Dakota. After successfully navigating the team to glory in January, Lisa hit the course on foot this time around.

Runner 11) Mike‘s passion for endurance sports started with bicycle racing and distance rides in the late ’90s. From there he moved on to triathlons, completing several including 10 1/2 Ironman and 2 full Ironman distance races. Mike’s first marathon was in 2003 in Chicago – which still remains one of his favorite marathons. Since then he’s completed several other marathons and is eyeing a 50-mile ultra marathon for 2012.

He grew up in Wayne, Michigan, relocating to the Chicago area after graduating from the University of Michigan with an Electrical Engineering degree. He is now an Engineering Manager at Cambium Networks based in Schaumburg, Illinois. Mike lives in Bartlett, Illinois, is happily married to his wife, Jill, and is the father of four kids – Matthew, Katie, Christopher and William, with ages ranging from 14 years to 1 year. No wonder he took up endurance sports! When not chasing his kids, Mike also enjoys photography, music (bass player), coaching (soccer and lacrosse) and reading about other nut jobs who enjoy running insane distances for the heck of it. This was Mike’s second Ragnar Relay with Digital Running.

Runner 12) Nate is no stranger to the finish line, having run the anchor leg of the Florida Keys Ragnar Relay for the Glade-iators. This was his second Ragnar Relay as runner #12. Nate lives near Sioux Falls, South Dakota with his wife Lisa (runner #10) and Davis, their Boston Terrorist. He works as a Manufacturing Engineer, and also moonlights as an architect for his Dad’s construction company.

“I just wanted to thank everybody for a wonderful Ragnar experience once again. Brian and Raffi you guys did a great organizing job and everything went well. I really enjoyed getting to meet all of you and I hope we run into each other again.” ~ Nate


Bondi BandThe Lower Wacker Gang was proudly sponsored by Bondi Band. Look for our colorful Bondi Band wicking headbands on the course and check out the killer discount in the green box!

Here’s why we love Bondi Bands:

1) they soak up sweat

2) they keep hair & wind out of your eyes and ears

3) they keep headphones in your ears

4) while at Ragnar, you can slide them over your nose in the port-a-john

5) you can also slide them over your eyes when you try to nap in the van!



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