On October 4, Sarah and I are each going on a 197-mile journey from Cumberland, Maryland to Washington D.C.
No, we're not planning on morphing into Dean Karnazes and cover that distance solo. As if.
Instead, we each need a team of 11 other mother runners to make an even dozen so we can take on the amazing Ragnar Relay and have our first-ever Ultimate Mother Runner Showdown.
In case you're not up to speed on all things Ragnar, the two-day race is a team relay: 12 runners each run 3 legs that range from roughly 3-10 miles. By the end of the relay, each runner will have run between 13-22 miles, and spent anywhere from 16-24 hours in a van with, optimistically, four total hours of sleep.
The logistics can be daunting—you've got to stay on route, make sure you're communicating well with your teammates, and deal with a little sleep deprivation—but those issues are mouse crumbs compared to the experience of running at times (2 a.m., anybody?) you wouldn't normally run, and hanging out with other like-minded souls who love to run, laugh and chat. (Or at least tolerate running so they can laugh and chat along the way.) Way better than sitting on the soccer sidelines, which is where we usually are on a Saturday morning in October.
Oh, and then there's this: each of the 22 women who fill our teams will get this unbelievable prize package chocked full of our favorite training gear:
A rundown of what each relay runner will receive:
Nuun: tasty hydration in non-sticky, super-convenient tablets (and sponsor of Ragnar)
110% Flat Out Sox: squeezy gradient compression socks to keep your legs fresh and kicky
Saucony: sampling of products from our fave running company
Sof Sole: custom-to-your-arch Fit insoles for cradle-like support
AMR Top: to-be-determined (and designed) tank or shirt for our kickass teams
Skinfare: organic, healing balms that soothe chafe, chapped lips and everything in between
Ragnar: an entry to the mother runner version of the Amazing Race
NuttZo: delish organic nut- and seed-butters that are brimming with healthy, good stuff
Hyland's: Calms Forte, our must-have homeopathic sleep aid, and Muscle Therapy Gel with Arnica
You will receive the majority of the prizes at your home, weeks before the relay, so you'll have plenty of time to get acquainted with it before the Showdown begins.
We each need to 11 women—22 total—to fill our teams. Before I get to how we'll do that, here are a few very important details:
What is included in winning: entry to the race, vehicle and gas during the race, all the great prizes listed above, nibbles for the vans.
What is not included in winning: transportation to and from the race, hotel before or after the race, meals before, during, and after the race. (We will obviously try to minimize costs by sharing rooms and helping with airport transfers and such. Oh, and we'll order margs by the pitcher after the race to be economical too.)
Dates: Race is October 4-5, 2013. You need to be in Cumberland, Maryland in the evening of October 3, and depending on where you're coming from, you may not be able to head home until the 6th.
O.k., now the fun stuff:
How do I enter?
All we ask is that you be creative and tell us why you want to join the Ultimate Mother Runner Showdown. We realize not everybody has time—or eqiupment—to make a video, so we just decided to throw the Creative Doors wide open and let you do what you can with the time and resources you have.
So you can make a video; paint a picture; decorate a poster; collage some photos; write a poem; give us the top ten reasons why you deserve to be on the team; compile the Ultimate Mother Runner Ragnar playlist; make your dog wear a sign; make your cat wear a sign...you get the point. Feel free to write a short essay, but please keep your word count under 600.
Where do I send my entry?
To us, at runmother [at] gmail [dot] com.
When does the contest close?
We need to receive all entries by May 27. We will announce the 22 winners on June 10.
Do I have to be a super speedy runner?
Absolutely not. But you definitely need to be a fun runner. We value entertainment way more than we value speed. That said, by the time the race rolls around, you need to be able to capably cover the distance of the various legs. (Ragnar also has a training program for newer runners; check it out and see if it seems doable for you. If you can swing it—the longest run tops out at 2 hours—you can swing Ragnar.)
Is this contest open to mother runners from other countries?
Yep. If you can get your badass to Cumberland by October 3rd, we want you and your cool passport.
Can I do a joint entry with my BRF (best running friend)?
Yes. But please limit it to 2 BRF's per entry.
Do I have to pick if I want to be on Team Dimity or Team Sarah?
Nope. If you're just happy to be on a mother runner team, great. If you prefer one team over the other, make that clear in your entry.
Is this really a showdown?
Nope again. (Or at least I—Dimity—say nope.)
After all, at the end of Ragnar, all of us will be able to say, It's all good. I ran today. (And yesterday.) And that is a solid win in any book.
Any other q's? Hit us below in the comments and we'll answer them.