On September 14, 2012, Uncorked! hit the starting line of the Napa Valley Ragnar Relay in San Francisco, CA, on the Golden Gate Bridge. After running a winding road through Napa Valley wine country, we hit the finish line in Calistoga, CA.
Here’s a brief introduction to the team:
Runner #1 Laura traded in her bike for running shoes in 2011, when a friend challenged her to run the Indy Half Marathon. She has been hooked on running ever since, completing her first marathon in Chicago that same year and several half marathons as well.
As a wine enthusiast and foodie, Laura can’t think of a better place than San Fran to Napa to run her first Ragnar Relay.
After completing the Chicago Marathon with her two sisters on Oct. 7, she will trade her running shoes in for hiking boots on a trip to Patagonia, Uruguay, and Argentina.
Runner #2 Michelle, is 36 and lives in Grapevine, Texas. Napa Valley Ragnar was Michelle’s 3rd Ragnar event. Although she has been an avid gym junkie since college, she did not start running until age 30. That year she set the bar very high and was able to complete her first full marathon! Initially, she trained for all of her races on her own, but after two years of peace and solitude, she joined the running club at Luke’s Locker in Colleyville, Texas, a decision which has changed her life in many positive ways. Through the summer heat and the chill of winter, the friendships that have evolved have made her Saturday morning runs a staple in Michelle’s weekly routine. In the fall of 2011, Michelle spread her fitness wings and made “Crossfit” the new normal in her continued desire to live a healthy and active life. Through 2011, Michelle’s running resume consists of 9 marathons and countless half marathons. Michelle has also set her sights on completing her first half Ironman in Austin this October.
Friends and Co-workers have learned never to be surprised when they ask Michelle about her weekend plans. One weekend she might fly to Chicago with friends for pizza and beer, while other weekends might be spent running all night long with 11 total strangers! When not running the trails or riding the streets, Michelle loves her day job which is being an Aircraft Dispatcher for a major airline.
Runner #3 Maria simply likes to run. Maria lives in St. Louis, MO, and is a busy Mom of two fantastic kids. She started running in 2008, in an effort to get active. To her great surprise she actually loved it! Physical benefits aside, she finds it a great stress reliever and thoroughly enjoys the camaraderie of the running community. In April of this year, Maria took a “run-cation” with a pal to Northern California for the Silverado half marathon. It was the most scenic path with a great finish party spot! Upon her return home, Maria began researching events in the Napa area looking for any excuse to head back. She stumbled across the Napa Valley Ragnar Relay. For a runner with a touch of insomnia, whose favorite distance is the half, in the ideal location… perfection! After trading a few emails with Brian (of Digital Running) – bam – it was a done deal! Maria puts her law degree to work as the Director of Procurement and University Contracts at Webster University. She enjoys a good meal (hence the running), bad music (have you heard her running playlist?) and the company of great friends. She is so exited to get started on her first Ragnar!
Runner #4 Christopher -grew up playing sports and has always been active in one form or another. In high school, he was on the school track team for sprints and hurdles and despised distance running. After taking a few years off from running, he ran his first 10k race and was hooked. Christopher currently works in a running store in the bay area and actively participates in weekly fun runs and races throughout the area. While he has done various races from 5Ks to his first Marathon last December, this was his first Ragnar experience. After Ragnar, Christopher will continue his training for the 2012 California International Marathon — where he WILL beat his goal of 4 hours so he can finally cross that off his bucket list!
Runner #5 Brian – sorry, no bio
Runner #6 Wendy (Nickname: Trinity “Granny Back” Oaks) is not new to running – her career began back in grade school. Wendy was always a distance runner since she grew up running through the fields and horse pastures of her family’s 140 acre ranch in Northweastern, WI. She was a varsity runner in Cross Country and Track all 4 years of high school and tried to carry that through to College, but she was plagued by injuries and forced to quit her Freshman year. For many years after she stayed away from the sport, and finally reactivated her love of running in 2010 – 8 years after moving to Chicago. She began slowly running smaller races here and there, and then really stepped it up at the end of 2011, taking advantage of Chicago’s beautiful lakefront paths, even running outside when it was 10 degrees below zero. She ran the Men’s Health Chicago Urbanathlon, a 10 mile race with numerous obstacles requiring great strength, and a stair climb at Soldier Field. She fell in love with destination races and longer races with obstacles, but hit a detour on that passion when she was taken out by a 220 lb man flying down one of the Warrior Dash Obstacles in the mountains of Northern, GA. After being air-lifted to a trauma center, she ended racing with mud and water obstacles; however, it did not stop the plethora of half marathons she was signed up for.
Wendy has already completed 10 races from Jan-August 2012. She just completed her first International Distance Triathlon (1 mile swim; 25 mile bike and 6.2 mile run) and has hopes of doing a Half Ironman after back surgery in October. Her first Ragnar Race is in Napa!! She is hooked on running bling and loves to collect medals (worth all the pain!)
Team Captain 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.) This is Brian’s 7th Ragnar Relay of 2012. He lives in St. Petersburg, FL, with his wife, two teenage daughters and their dog, Kaboodles.
Team Mom Raffi has over 15 years of Mommy-ing under her belt. She sorts out the details & graphic design for an event and makes sure the water bottles 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 and two teenage daughters. This is her 9th time not running Ragnar Relay.
Runner #7 Robert has always loved to run but didn’t begin to run consistently or take it seriously until 3 years ago when several good friends put together a Ragnar team for the SoCal race. He’s now run SoCal 3 times and gone on to join a New England team to run their Ragnar the past two years. He loves to run in the cold and at night and looks forward to the “o-dark-thirty” run that Ragnar provides.
In his spare time, he enjoys snow and water skiing and usually has a few books going at a time. He lives in Thousand Oaks, California with his wife of 25 years and 4 daughters, 2 cats and a dog.
Runner #8 Cris is a young 41 years old and started running a year ago. Before he began running, he had not run a mile since high school and had not run two miles in his entire life. A passion to get healthier by doing something like running has led Cris to multiple 6 mile runs in a week. He first found out about Ragnar back in April after seeing the stickers on people’s cars, but not knowing what it meant. When he looked up Ragnar, he was determined to do one himself. Cris is looking forward to the Napa Valley Ragnar 2012, being the first of many races he’ll participate in.
Runner #9 Shirley (the one on the right) was cajoled into joining the team by fellow Canadians, Lucy and John who survived the Northwest Passage Ragnar Relay with Digital Running. Shirley’s husband, Brian (the one on the left) will be handling the driving duties for van #2.
Runner #10 Patrick ran his first race in 2008. It was a small town half marathon, in which he got lost trying to find where the damn finish line was (running an extra quarter mile or so), but still managed to finish 15 minutes ahead of the number 2 finisher. This led him to actually believe he was fast and that perhaps he should enter more races. Well, much to his chagrin, he was indeed in for a huge dose of humility when he entered his first race with ACTUAL fast runners. After a few of these experiences he finally decided that he best lower his expectations and just accept that lumber trucks don’t move as fast as Ferrari’s…. and hence he has since been satisfied with top 25 finishes as his goal and has been quite successful at it. Over the past five years he’s run everything from 5ks up to a couple full marathons. The pinnacle of his career was the Seattle Marathon in 2010, where he missed qualifying for Boston by 6 damn minutes!!!! That same year he was introduced to relay events when he was invited to run in the granddaddy of them all, Hood to Coast. This is one of the most memorable experiences of his life and it set the stage for a few more relays, including Ragnar Relay Napa Valley 2011, Ragnar Relay Northwest Passage 2012, and of course now Ragnar Napa 2012. Next on the list… who knows, perhaps skydiving?!
Runner 11) John (the one on the right in grey) traded in his pack and a half a day cigarette habit for running in 2006. Watching his Father die of Lung cancer that year motivated John to replace his bad habit with a new one. Since then he has run a variety of races including 10Ks, Half Marathons and Marathons, and has recently become a fan of Trail Running races. He’ll be back with Digital Running in Sept. for the Ragnar Relay Napa Valley.
To support his running habit, John works as a Business Management Consultant where he helps companies improve their management, sales and customer service performance. He is also an avid Downhill Skier and will miss any day of work for a fresh powder day. John is married to Lucy (Runner #12)
Runner 12) Lucy (the one on the left in blue) is a 24/7 runner. In addition to running 5ks, 10ks and Half Marathons, her full time job is running around taking care of husband John (Runner # 11 and her oldest child) and her two very active boys, Connor (13) and Liam (10) while also working a full time job.
Similar to Wonder Woman, Lucy has remarkable skills of being able to feed a soccer team after school, cram them into her Suburban, race to a soccer practice and sneak in a tempo run while they practice. Running since 2007, her highlight was running down the Vegas strip in the 2009 Las Vegas Half Marathon. She’ll be back with Digital Running at Ragnar Relay Napa Valley in Sept. Lucy has lived in the beautiful Okanagan Valley (The Napa Valley of Canada) most of her life. Also a downhill skier, Lucy’s newfound winter passion is cross country skate skiing.
Uncorked! 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 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!