On August 17th, 2012, Running in the Bluff hit the starting line of the Great River Ragnar Relay in Winona, MN. We ran along the Mississippi River toward the finish line in Minneapolis, winning the Homecoming award for Best Team Spirit along the way!
Here’s a brief introduction to the team:
Runner 1) Rachel began her current love / hate relationship with running in the winter of 2010 when she started training for her first race, the NY Ragnar Relay which coincided with her 34 birthday – it seemed like a fitting closure to her Jesus year. Since, she managed to run the DC, Tennessee and Chicago Ragnar Relays all while switching jobs, finalizing a divorce, selling a house in Jersey City and moving to Chicago. Now a Ragnar veteran, Rachel enjoyed new terrain along the Mighty Mississippi.
Runner 2) Patrick is 34 years young and feeling stronger everyday. He lives in Maplewood, MN, and is a Foreman for a fire protection company out of St. Paul. Pat stumbled upon the Ragnar on a date night with his wife last summer. He Googled it and knew right away it was for him. He’s played hockey his whole life so a stinky van is a perfect fit for him. Anyone who’s ever been in a locker room knows what we mean. Pat spent the first half of this year having an awesome time training for and running Grandmas Marathon. Now it’s time for the next chapter – Ragnar! When he’s not running, he is spending time with his awesome wife who says he’s addicted to running, golf and ESPN! They love spending time with their family and friends but, Patrick’s true sanctuary is on the golf course. No he doesn’t run on it. We’re sorry to say he always uses a golf cart. Pat can’t wait to make some new friends while running in the bluff!
Runner 3) Cheryl grew up in the Chicago area and had been a runner in junior high, but she quit in high school after moving to Minnesota and developing such an allergy to the state that she became asthmatic. After that, the only running Cheryl did was chasing fly balls in the outfield. Then, she heard about a thing called the Warrior Dash – a 3.02 mile run complete with an obstacle course and mud pit. That sounded like fun, but you can’t run an obstacle course if you can’t run, so in March of 2011, Cheryl started the Couch-to-5K training program. Two months later she ran her first 5K. Besides that, and two Warrior Dashes, Cheryl has run several 5Ks, a 10K, a 10-miler (placed 3rd for her age group!), a very hot Ragnar Chicago, and a law enforcement torch run of 10.73 miles – all with little sign of respiratory distress.
When she’s not running, she can be found tending her chickens, child, husband, two dogs, or 150 inmates. In her spare time, Cheryl works with US Fish and Wildlife doing prescribed burns in wildlife management areas.
Runner 4) Rob is new to the running world, having been introduced to it only this past January. He never liked running and hadn’t even ran a single mile since his high school football days (way too many years ago). He has always worked out in the gym and decided it was time to do something new. Having completed his first half marathon in June he was looking for something even more challenging, so why not a Ragnar!? He is also scheduled to do the Northshore Inline Marathon in Sept for another new challenge.
Rob grew up in WI, and loves any outdoor activity. The Great River runs through where he grew up. Rob works as a Project Manager in River Falls, WI, and currently lives in Stillwater, MN, with his 7 yr. old daughter. She helps keep him out of trouble.
For Runner 5) Jim, it all started 2 years ago when he put on his red Christmas sweater. His wife looked at him and said, “You look just like Santa, belly and all”. Looking in the mirror, who could argue? From that point, he made the commitment to change.
Next was a friendly Biggest Loser competition where Jim lost 50 lbs and had a ton of fun competing against his co-workers. At that point he realized that he truly missed the thrill of competition and was looking for his next challenge. He found it when a friend ran his first 5K. Jim just needed to run it faster than his friend! He does not consider himself a fast runner, but loves running because he gets to compete against others and himself during races.
Since his first 5K, Jim has run several races ranging from 5Ks to a half marathon in Fargo this past spring. In his spare time, Jim is a Director of Marketing and enjoys spending time with his wife and two kids.
Runner 6) Jeff is a new runner. He decided to start working out and running as a way to get in shape and control his weight in January of 2011. Jeff was hooked when after 7 months of preparation and weight loss, he completed his first Half Marathon in Minneapolis – the Twin Cities Red, White, and Boom. After that, he started training for the Twin Cities Marathon, and completed that in October of 2011 as well. Since that time, Jeff has run a few more Half Marathons, a couple 10Ks, and even a few 5K’s.
This was his first Relay event, and he enjoyed the experience and challenge. Jeff works for UPS and will be running with a friend and co-worker Jim (runner #5), who he asked to do the event as well. Jeff has been married to his wife Dayna for 19 years, and has two kids – Braden (17) and Bailey (14).
Runner 7) Jayme has been suffering from a condition known as LOPS (Lack of Pants Syndrome – a highly contagious condition that is rapidly spreading to the rest of the team) for most of her life. She hasn’t let that slow her down, though. A team handball prodigy, Jayme led her native Denmark to the gold medal during the 2004 Olympics in Athens at only 17 years of age. Two years later, she departed the team to pursue her collegiate dreams in the U.S., and the Danes failed to qualify for the 2008 Beijing games. Coincidence? We think not!
Now a proud mother, Jayme continues to challenge herself with triathlons, road races, paleo dieting and CrossFit workouts. She has recently taken to competing in Strongwoman competitions, where her favorite event is the Volkswagen Beetle dead lift. One day she hopes to return to Europe as Denmark’s strongest woman. For now, we’re just glad she had time to “run in the bluff” with us!
Runner 8) Amy (the one on the right) was part of the Minneapolis contingent of Amies running Ragnar this year. Her dear friend and aspirational running partner, runner 9) Amy is the one on the left, who lead the Running in the Bluffers this year. Amy #9 is modest, but she had TWO low-2:50s marathons this year! Amy #8 has been running basically forever, although she has been struggling to come back from injuries of late. (Blaming everything on old age also comes in handy.) Her favorite distance is the 10-mile or the half-marathon, where one can unspool one’s rhythm and is not forced to breathe like an insane person the whole time.
Amy #8 ran her first Ragnar last year, and drank the Kool Aid from the very first leg. From running in the pitch-dark with a headlamp to eating pasta at midnight to sleeping outside on the Junior High lawn, she was completely chipper and adrenalized the whole time. (This was only mildly annoying for her van mates. Plus, they failed to appreciate her renditions of Tom Petty classics, which was baffling.) She was a little bummed that there was not more marking of kills and/or wearing of temporary tattoos or groovy outfits last year, so she hopes to rectify this grave error with the fabulous RiB squad.
Amy #8 is a mom of three in lovely Minneapolis, and loves to run the lakes with Amy #9, but only when she is really tired from her latest 2:52 marathon, or has already run 20 miles. BTW, Amy and Amy are on a racing team with a total of 4 Amies and one Emi, so they are often known as H and C (rather than# 8 and #9 as we know them), and are totally down with that. Amy is a writer/editor by trade, as well as an NPR junkie and East Coast native. She slammed lots of Balance bars and chocolate milk. She also loves Raffi’s countdown posts!
Runner 10) Nate is our first Digital Running Club 3-peat, as this was his third Ragnar Relay with us this year! Having run the anchor leg of the Florida Keys Ragnar Relay for the Glade-iators and the Chicago Ragnar Relay for the Lower Wacker Gang, here Nate got an early start in position #11. Nate lives near Sioux Falls, South Dakota, with his gorgeous wife Lisa and Davis, their Boston Terrorist. He works as a Manufacturing Engineer, and also moonlights as an architect for his Dad’s construction company.
Team Captain and Runner 11) Brian 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.) Great River is Brian’s sixth Ragnar Relay of 2012. He lives in St. Petersburg, FL, with his wife, two teenage daughters and their dog, Kaboodles.
Runner 12) Mark Bio coming soon.
Van #2 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 digitalrunning.com, 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 (Brian, above) and two teenage daughters. This is her 8th time NOT running Ragnar Relay.
Running in the Bluff is proudly sponsored by Bondi Band. You certainly saw our colorful Bondi Band wicking headbands on the course, and check out the killer discount in the green box above!
Here’s why we love Bondi Bands:
1) they keep sweat out of your eyes and hair
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-potty
5) you can also slide them over your eyes when you try to nap in the van!