Group of BYU students prepares for Washington Ragnar

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BYU students prepare for 200 mile relay race. Team Long Distance Saints will be running the Northwest Passage Ragnar race in mid July. (Chelsie Faulk)
BYU students running in the Northwest Passage Ragnar Relay this summer: Brynne Burwell, Joseph Simpson, Cameron Blocker, Sara Durrant, Spencer Buhler, David Kartchner, Brian Perez, Dylan Lawter, Bailey Gibbons, Justin Illum, Rebecca Nazer and Chelsie Faulk. (Chelsie Faulk)

Running 200 miles isn’t for everyone. But for a 12-person team from BYU training for a Ragnar race in mid-July, it’s a summer adventure.

The team members calls themselves The Long Distance Saints and use the hashtag #ZionOrBust. BYU students Chelsie Faulk and Rebecca Nazer put the team together with the simple goal of doing something awesome this summer.

“We just wanted to go somewhere different and beautiful,” Faulk said. “We decided there wasn’t anywhere else more beautiful than the Northwest Passage Ragnar race, so we decided to just do it.”

The Northwest Passage Ragnar starts near the Canadian border in the city of Blaine, Washington. The teams will run relay style from point to point through the iconic sights of the Pacific Northwest, including the glacial Cascade and Olympic Mountain ranges, Deception Pass and the Puget Sound, to finish in the city of Langley, Washington.

Each Ragnar Relay is approximately 200 miles (320 kilometers) in distance, with races lasting two days and one night. There are two types of teams: regular and ultra. A regular team consists of 12 runners while an ultra team consists of six runners. Each runner on a regular team is responsible for running three legs of the race, with each leg ranging between two and 14 miles. The total distance a runner is responsible for ranges between nine and 22 miles.

“The training per person varies quite a bit,” Faulk said. “Each person is training according to the leg of the race they’ve been assigned.”

Runner Dylan Lawter is running one of the longer legs of the race and his training is focused on higher mileage. He will peak at running 12 to 15 miles per day.

“Right now, I’m only running three to five miles a day,” Lawter said. “But I’m going to start building more miles until my peak two weeks before the race so that I’m rested.”

Another challenge they’ll have to face is running during the middle of the night and in the early hours of the morning.

“What’s more important is that we train at various times of the day,” Faulk said. “We’ll be running in the morning, middle of the night, and in the morning, so that’s what everyone really needs to practice; also, running with a headlamp and things like that.”

Lawter has already started training at different times of the day.

“I’ve started midnight runs myself, and some of the team members have as well,” Lawter said. “We plan to do a couple night runs as a team before the race.”

To make the 35 relay exchanges less stressful, the team is taking two minivans to transport and follow the runners throughout the race. Runners one through six are in van one, while the rest are in the second van. They will also be used as sleeping stations for runners who are waiting for their leg of the race during the middle of the night.

“We’re a team of crazy college kids looking for something fun to do,” said BYU student and team member Sara Durrant. “Who knows—maybe we’ll win it all.”

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