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Digital Running Club » Uncategorized » Introducing team “Running in the Bluff”

Introducing team “Running in the Bluff”

On August 17th, 2013, Running in the Bluff once again hit the starting line of the Great River Ragnar Relay in Winona, MN. We ran through America’s Heartland along the Mississippi River toward the finish line in Minneapolis, sharing fun and blisters along the way!


Here’s a brief introduction to the team:

Van 1

erin76995368_nRunner #1 Erin began running when a friend from her Turbo Kick class at the gym mentioned she was running a race that upcoming weekend. “Who are you racing with?” she asked. “Nobody, I am going alone” was the answer… to which Erin replied, “You can’t go alone, I’ll go with you!” So off to the Grand Ole Day 8K she went. Heading back from the turnaround, her classmate and another friend who had joined in at the last minute said to one another, “She’s going too fast, she’s going to slow down, we’ll catch her on the way back for sure” …and never did. After that event, Erin figured she must be able to run, despite always repeating the mantra “I only run when chased” up until that time – a source of much entertainment amongst her friends these days!

Not long thereafter, Erin signed up for the Life Time Fitness triathlon, and her classmate started seeking out running relays to terrorize Erin. First, the Fall 50 in Wisconsin – where the new-to-running-Erin got stuck with 15 miles, and then… Ragnar! You’d think that a longer distance than she’d ever run, coupled with a lack of sleep and captaining the team (she was oft heard to say it was like “herding cats”) would have put an end to the relay events, but she fell in love with the excitement, teamwork and camaraderie – and never looked back.  5 years later, Erin is on her 6th Fall 50 and her 5th Great River Relay!

Relay races, it seems, created a monster.  Erin now spends a large part of her free time (what free time?!) running races including 10Ks, 10 miles, half marathons and relays, in addition to duathlons (including a half-iron distance duathlon), triathlons, and long-distance cycling events. As much as she dislikes running, she hates swimming even more – so spends far more time biking and running than triathlon-ing. She runs, swims, cycles and strength trains, really, just so she can eat (strictly vegan)!

Group cat1Runner #2 Cat has been a running vet for over 20 years. She started her Ragnar adventure back in 2011, with the Northwest Passage race as part of an Ultra team. Prior to that race in the same year, Cat was going through a painful divorce and wanted to shake up her life, so this self-proclaimed “high maintenance girlie girl” jumped at the chance to run this race when a militray coworker asked her. Cat’s love for running is very evident and her passion for wanting people to get involved led to her “appointment” as the interim US Central Command Running Club Captain at Macdill AFB. The actual Captain is deployed to Bahrain for the US Navy. In December, Cat’s new running and military adventures will begin in DC where she will work in the Defense Prisoner of War/Missing Personnel Office.

nancytacoRunner #3 Nancy got the running bug during her first Ragnar in 2010. Her Zumba instructor asked her a few weeks before Great River if she wanted to jump in as a sub. Nancy said, “Sure! …What’s Ragnar?” She had run a few 5ks and thought a relay sounded fun. The race was a bit challenging as she had never run that far before, but she had a blast. She decided that training for races such as Ragnar might be a good idea. She officially started running and put a team together for 2011 & 2012 with Michael (Runner #6). Besides Ragnar, she loves running snowshoe races and completed her first Monster Dash half marathon last fall. Nancy lives in Shoreview, MN, with her hubby Shawn and she owns a high performance leadership coaching and consulting company.

whitney8156965_nRunner #4 Whitney lives in Florida and is running her 2nd Ragnar with Digital Running. She has an affinity for decorating vans with window markers and tasting local brews.

mattRunner #5 Matt used to run because his football and wrestling coaches made him. He was very confused by people who ran for the sake of running.  Now he runs in a somewhat futile attempt to keep his scale from running away and does half marathons, marathons and Ragnars to stay motivated.   Matt grew up in Wisconsin, but now lives in Washington State where he participates in Ragnar Northwest Passage annually. He’s excited to be returning to his home state to run the Great River. He’s less excited about the drive back to Washington with three kids, two of whom have been staying with grandparents for the summer. (Matt told his wife he’d love to drive out and pick them up as long as he had some free time on the 16th and 17th.)

michaela268_5319869_nRunner #6 Michael launched his running career with the same Ragnar running position two years ago. We’ll see if as many expletives come out under his breath this year. When he isn’t running, he is working as a college administrator, writing, hanging out with his family, or planning his next run. His biggest running aspiration at the moment is to run, section by section, the Superior Hiking Trail.

Van 2

jayme5444_oRunner #7 Jayme has been suffering from a condition known as LOPS (Lack of Pants Syndrome) 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!

Jayme continues to challenge herself with triathlons, road races, paleo dieting and CrossFit workouts. She loves bacon but hates pants. She lifts weights but hates pants. She’s a Supermom — who hates pants.

ozzie78711575_nRunner #8 & Team Captain Brian Darrow grew up playing volleyball in the Midwest. He signed up for his first marathon in 2007, after talking to a bourbon drinking, smoking graphic designer he met in a hotel bar in Atlanta. Hey, if she could run one, he should certainly be able to! He is now an avid runner who e-coaches adults across the United States while coaching High School athletes in Cross Country and Track & Field at a small private school in Florida.

In his spare time, Brian enjoys wearing little more than afro wigs while decorating vans with Christmas lights and taking 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-times-estimated-algorithmic spreadsheet (Email us for a copy.)

Brian lives in St. Petersburg, FL, with his wife, two teenage daughters and their dog, Kaboodles. This is Brian’s 8th Ragnar Relay of 2013 and the 18th of his overnight relay career.

amyh7310_nRunner #9 Amy H is excited to be back for her third Ragnar with Digital Running, and looking forward to reuniting with her pants-shunning exhibitionist friends for the second year on the “Running in the Bluff” team at Ragnar Great River. Amy has run on and off over the years since high school, where she rocked the tall bangs, spiral perm and Dolphin shorts. Her most recent running obsession has lasted about 4 years and led to PRs at just about every distance, including a 2:53 marathon in 2011. Because that just wasn’t long enough, Amy has also dipped her toe into the ultra scene, running her first 50-miler in February of 2013 with another planned for October of this year.

Amy lives in Minneapolis, with husband David and dog Jake, and works in San Diego (with Runner #12 Cindy).  She can usually be found in bed by about 9:30 pm to allow for that early morning wake up. But during Ragnar Relays… who needs sleep?!

toddRunner #10 is Todd, but his friends all call him Todd. This will be Todd’s 2nd Ragnar (he was team captain of the third place Mixed-up Masters team – Mad Housewives and Desparate Men in 2010), and his 4th long distance relay. Besides Ragnar, he captained the division winning (mixed-open) Excogitated Melon Hips in the prestigious Catskills Mountain Relay (the only certified 100k loop course in the country); as well as participating in the now defunct Border to Border Triathlon in 2009 (a 500 mile Bike-Run-Canoe event, he was only caught swimming at a much shorter triathlon once). The important thing to note about these accomplishments is that Todd was never threatened with ejection from the van in any of these events – so we can be pretty sure that he plays well with others (as long as you don’t eat all of his gummies and chocolate covered espresso beans).

Todd has been running for half of his life, but didn’t enter his first race until the year 2000, when he randomly signed up for the Twin Cites Marathon. He trained cluelessly for months, got really sick a few weeks before the race but went ahead and ran it anyway (with a maximum long run of 16 miles), and somehow finished with a smile on his face. Thus began his running addiction.

Todd’s running preferences these days are heavily skewed to running ultra distances on trails, where the risks of tripping on rocks and roots are gratefully traded for dodging cars and strollers. He particularly enjoys the freedom from worrying obsessively about pace, as he is desperately trying to age gracefully and rationalize going slower. Other than the occasional badger, deer or giant horse-fly, he rarely has anything more to worry about than staying upright and keeping up with Amy C – whom he chases with some frequency whenever he can.

Runner #11 Mark (aka Marky Mark) has run with us before, isn’t afraid to wear pink, has a rock hard chest and that’s all you need to know.

Cindyrock n rollRunner #12 Cindy started her sporting career as a competitive swimmer, but was converted to running the year she turned 30 by her crazy friend and house guest who tricked her into going on a run (“You have to come with me or else I’ll get lost…”) Since then her sporadic running habit has taken a turn to the serious side in 2013, with her first marathon in June. On the heels of surviving that distance and combined with a love for all things dress-up, she’s hopping on a plane in San Diego with a suitcase full of costumes to join her friend Amy H. and the Running in the Bluff team for her first Ragnar Relay.

Van #2 Support Staff:

AmyC2Amy C. is a mom of 3, healthcare marketing consultant at Fairview, and huge Ragnar fan. This is her third Great River, the second with the peerless folks at Digital Running (the ONLY way to do a Ragnar). She has been running since ninth grade, but has lately switched almost completely to running trails. She recently had the fun of running the Eugene Curnow Trail Marathon on the Superior Hiking Trail, which featured insane ascents and a field of rocks. She thinks the inevitable dirt and blood make her look like a badass. (You be the judge.)

C, as one half of the Minneapolis duo of van 2 Amies is known, is very good friends with H (aka Amy Halseth), even though H is an elite runner who has been featured in magazines. (It hasn’t gone to her head, and she still runs with C on her really, really easy days.)

Amy C. is also pacer (both on and off the trail) to Ultra-man Runner #10 Todd, who somehow puts up with her sparkle skirts, fear of camping, and other shenanigans. She cannot wait to meet all the new Buffers and to reunite with her Van 2 homies.

raffiTeam Mom Raffi has over 16 years of Mommy-ing under her belt. She sorts out the details & graphic design for our events, and makes sure the water bottles are kept on ice. As the online Editor of, her years of writing, marketing & graphic design experience come in handy. Raffi is kind of a health nut, and loves Yoga, dark chocolate, Disney and reading. She lives in Florida with her husband and two teenage daughters. This is her 17th time not running Ragnar.


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