Articles Comments

Facebook Link Twitter Link
Pace Calculator

Digital Running Club » Uncategorized » Stranger Van Friction

Stranger Van Friction

On Feb 7, 2014, Stranger Van Friction hit the starting line of the Florida Keys Ragnar Relay in Miami, FL. Driving down US1 from bridge to bridge, Key to Key, they traversed 200+ miles in the hot sun, finally ending with their toes in the sand on Higgs Beach in Key West, Florida.



Here’s a brief introduction to the team:

Van #1

alexIMG_4386Runner #1 Alex hails from Washington, D.C. and has been running for fun and fitness for about 14 years. A sprinter in high school and college, he hated anything resembling long distance running until a fitness boot camp moved into his neighborhood and he was shamed into joining. Huffing and puffing in the back of the pack of the group runs, he eventually led the pack and came to love running, ultimately finishing two marathons, ten triathlon/biathlons, and winning some age-group 5ks. Now he’s hooked and currently enjoying mud runs (Spartan Super and Spartan Beast) and relays (RAGNAR!). Having completed the DC Ragnar twice (the second time as captain) this was his 3rd Ragnar.

“Miss you all already. And the weather, it’s snowing here in DC. Thanks everyone for making #‎RagnarFLK an amazing experience! Thanks especially to Brian and Raffi for making it all happen!”

whitney8156965_n Runner #2 Whitney lives in Florida. This was her 4th Ragnar with Digital Running and 6th overall. She has an affinity for decorating vans with window markers and tasting local brews.

Runner #3 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 coaches adults across the country.

ozzie78711575_nIn 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 was Brian’s 20th Ragnar Relay.

Randy Runs to finish lineRunner #4 Randy is a longtime runner who has logged over 36,000 miles and has run in almost every state and on every continent except Antarctica. To keep going, he continually looks for fresh challenges and that is how he got caught up with the Ragnar Racing series. This will be his 6th Ragnar, all with Digital Running, and he always looks forward to that nighttime leg!

His 30+ mile/week goal is primarily met running the streets, parks, and beltline within the city limits of Atlanta, where being able to run fast is a good thing. Randy says that the running helps him to control the stress of being a latex salesman for Vandelay Industries. He and his wife Lisa try to take advantage of all the city has to offer, such as attending Braves games and going to listen to some of the great music that comes to town. Randy hopes to soon realize his dream of running backwards across America in an attempt to show his support for Backwards People everywhere.

ericLike most runners, Runner #5 is Eric loves it when people call him crazy. Most of the time they’re referring to his runs around the Twin Cities of Minneapolis and St. Paul, MN. Born and raised there, he’s accustomed to long, cold winters. Eric’s general rule for winter running, -1 degrees or above with minimal wind means he’s running outside.

Eric grew up with a love of running, spending 6 years in Jr. and Sr. High on the Track Team before joining the Army Reserves. Being a healthy runner was a big help in basic training! About two years after basic training Eric was making his way in the business world, working on obtaining a college degree and a new homeowner. Regretfully he admits, “life” took over while running and exercise took a backseat.

Fast forward a FEW years to 2012… For the 7th consecutive year, Eric was co-leading the volunteer effort at the headline sponsor’s water aid station for the Medtronic Twin Cites Marathon and going through a difficult period in his life when he decided that he would be running in that Marathon in 2013. The rest, as they say, is history. Eric finished the Twin Cities Marathon, his first, this past October – and isn’t looking back! “I love running for so many reasons and nothing will ever separate us again!”

amoretteRunner #6 Amorette (center) is joining us for her 4th Ragnar, and she’s officially addicted to Ragnars. Running – not so much… Amorette loves to participate in races/adventure races and if costumes and themes are part of it – she’s definitely in! She loves races but hates training and picked up running years after repeatedly rejecting it as part of her collegiate swim career cross-training regimen.

This past October, she participated as a captain for the Ragnar Washington, DC and asked her friends & teammates to say something about her, here’s the list:

  • Loves PB&J
  • Not afraid to wear ridiculous costumes
  • Likes quiet walks on the beach
  • Likes minions
  • She’s an awesome cheerleader and motivator
  • Is the craftiest person I know
  • Prefers her napkin to be warmed (but that didn’t go so well at the melting pot)
  • Is the best Captain ever… until you want coffee – which is ironically what everyone says about Digital Running’s Ragnar Captain Brian, so we’re sure she’ll fit in just fine!

Van #1 Support Staff:

raffi Ragnar Team MomTeam 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. 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 Florida with her husband and two teenage daughters. This was her 19th time not running Ragnar Relay.

Van #2

barry3240_nRunner #7 Barry started swimming at age 8, and swam through High School, hating running every bit of the way! Fast forward many, many… many years. After back and knee surgery and with the big five-oh rapidly approaching, he was introduced to the idea of doing a Sprint Triathlon. He figured the distance was short enough; and all he had to do was learn to run some, since he was a decent swimmer and was commuting to work on his bike. In fact, he thought he had it in the bag. He started training for the big race and he discovered running was not so bad after all! He still was not that good of a runner so he joined a running group at his church and within 2 months had run his first Half Marathon and finished. The Tri distances kept getting longer and he finished his first Half Ironman distance Tri in December 2013. Also in 2013 he ran his first Ragnar and was hooked! He ran SoCal and Captained a team in Napa Valley. (The double medal they give you for the 2 California races is real cool; it’s huge and has a shiny gold finish!)

“Thank you Brian and Raffi for putting this team together! Thank you all for putting up with me for a day and a half. Enjoy and keep running!”

leahRunner #8 Leah is a mother of four who fell in love with running after her surprise pregnancy at the age of 43. Everyone, even her trainer, tried to discourage her when she expressed a desire to try running. She was envious of others who ran half and full marathons, and wanted so badly to be one of those Moms with a 13.1 or 26.2 sticker on the back of her car. After growing tired of feeling inadequate, and trying to find a way to deal with the stress of being a mother of four and having a mother battling cancer, she took up running. It has been three years of working out and training to achieve her goal of being a runner. She has exceeded her expectations, won some races (in her age group), ran two half marathons and a marathon. Now she has a goal of making a blanket out of the race shirts!

Her friend, Amy #11, told her about this exciting race called Ragnar in Miami, Florida. She is looking forward to making some new friends and getting out of this cold weather!

leslieRunner #9 Leslie will be married to van #2 driver, Scott, 30 years come May. Leslie has run all 4 Tennessee Ragnars. This will be her first Ragnar in Florida. Scott is not a runner so much, but can be persuaded if beer is involved. They live in Murfreesboro, TN, where their 2 kids where born and raised – but both work out of town.

kathyAlthough Runner #10 Kathy lives in Minnesota, she’ll always be a Wisconsinite at heart. Her love for the Green Bay Packers led her to sign up for her first half marathon because it ran through Lambeau Field. Little did she know the 5k also ran through the stadium. She returned to Green Bay the following year to add Wisconsin as her second marathon state. Kathy has completed 9 marathons in 9 states (including a runDisney Goofy) and this was her fifth Ragnar, her fourth with strangers.

“Just wanted to say thanks for such a wonderful race for Ragnar Florida Keys. Talk about Ragnar done right, as someone who’s captained a team and also been a participant, it was fantastic to have someone else taking care of the details! And all the details too! You really made flying in to a new place and running a destination race an easy experience. Of course I’m recommending your group to anyone interested in doing a destination race. I can’t imagine doing Ragnar FLK any other way. Thank you again so very much-it was AWESOME!”

amy824 Runner #11 Amy was raised in South Florida and has a background in ER Nursing and pharmaceutical sales. She is a college football fanatic and a proud alumni of Florida State University. Amy will graduate soon with her Master’s in Clinical Mental Health from UT Chattanooga. She hopes to work as a therapist specializing in addiction – unless she becomes an addict herself after raising her 4 spirited children ages 11, 10, 9 & 7!

Amy returned to running two years ago after a long hiatus. She has enjoyed 2 half-marathons and 12 other races last year. She hopes to run a full marathon this year if her knees hold out. Amy has grown up going fishing in the Keys with her family, and so it is only fitting that her fist (of many) Ragnars be there. When she is not serving as a nurse, maid, taxi driver, chef, tutor, personal shopper– she can often be found running in her knee socks all over Signal Mountain, TN.

“What a blast! Thank you to Brian and Raffi for all your efforts–you really made it great! If you need a replacement at any point give me a shout! Thanks again, what an amazing experience!”

robNY Marathon1Runner #12 Rob was told by a good friend that Ragnar is awesome, so he put his name out on the Ragnar Florida Keys site as a runner, and is now excited to be part of the Stranger Van Friction Team. Rob did not always love running, but found it necessary to compete in triathlons. After several years, running has become Rob’s favorite event and is happy that running seems to be a discipline that can always improve. He has been married for 17 years and has a 13 year old son and a 3 year old daughter who keeps him young (he thinks..??..not sure). His wife thinks he is nuts for doing Ironman triathlons and things like Ragnar, but is always supportive. He can’t wait to meet the team and get to Key West!

Van #2 Support Staff:

Scott (Leslie’s husband) and Jackie (Barry’s wife) will drive van #2 into the sunset… and beyond!

Stranger Van Friction will run through the heat & humidity of the Florida Keys with help from our friends at ShowerPill!beastslider

Filed under: Uncategorized · Tags:

Comments are closed.