Hundreds of runners will be pounding the basin’s darkened trails tonight and well into Saturday on their way to covering 140 miles of backcountry together.
Runners will team up to conquer the ultra distance on the Sierra-at-Tahoe trails this weekend during a new overnight Salomon relay know as the Ragnar Trail Relays. More than 1,000 runners from 27 states are expected to participate in the run on Friday and Saturday. Team members will take turns running loops and then recouping maybe mixed with a little partying, back at base camp.
“It’s definitely a fun atmosphere and because it’s all in one location it’s kind of like a finish line party for two days straight,” said Angela Heydorn, trail marketing manager.
Often called a slumber party without sleep, pillows or deodorant, the Ragnar Relay turns out crazy costumes, inside jokes, close quarters and unforgettable stories. Teams will camp out at the finish line in the Sierra-at-Tahoe parking lot, forming a Ragnar Village of sorts. There will be music, food, coffee, smore’s and hot chocolate for team members.
“Celebrating at the end with your teammates is a big part of it, but it’s also about conquering something that you wouldn’t have been able to do on your own,” Heydorn said.
There will be teams out there gunning for first place, but for the most part this relay is about having fun and enjoying some of Seirra-at-Tahoe’s finest trails for about 140 miles.
On a standard eight-person team, each runner will complete three separate loops, totaling 17.6 miles per person.
Runners will get warmed up with the Green Loop, also known as Sugar ‘N Spice. This 2.7-mile loop is the shortest section and circles the main base area. The Yellow Loop — Bryan Meadows — is a highly coveted 6.9-mile loop along a classic Sierra forest trail. Finally, runners will catch a chairlift to the top of Sierra-At-Tahoe to run the Red Loop known as Pony Express. This eight-mile loop overlooks Lake Tahoe for 1.5 miles before descending 1,500 feet in less than three miles.
Back at camp, there will prizes awarded for the best costumes and best campsite decorations. The theme doesn’t have to be Ragnar related. There have been boat-themed camps and flamingo-themed camps at past events.
Ragnar Events, LLC are the largest overnight running relay series in the United States.
Ragnar Trail Relays contributed to this report.