I get a wide variety of running-related questions on Facebook, Twitter, this blog, or in real life. So I figure I’d address some of the common questions I get here, on Fridays. Cause Friday starts with ‘F’ and so does FAQ. See what I did there?
Anyway, one of the biggest ones I get—and got a LOT when I worked the Ragnar booth for the Publix Georgia Marathon Expo—is “How do I put together a Ragnar team?” I’m sure there is a wide variety of correct answers to this one, but I’ll tell you my thoughts.
1: You don’t necessarily have to put together a team. If you’re not picky about who you are with in a van, you can join an existing team. A great way is to join the individual race event on Facebook. Then you’ll see people posting that they need runners, or you can post that you are looking for a team. I got on my first team because I wanted to run Ragnar Chicago and I knew a runner in suburban Chicago. One. And not well. But I figured it was worth asking, and she put me in touch with a runner friend who knew the captain of my team, and the rest is history.
2. If you are going to captain a team, talk about it. A lot. To everybody. Online, in person, tell people about this cool relay you heard of and how awesome it sounds and that you want to do it and that they should want to do it too. Enthusiasm is infectious!
3. Throw your net wide. When I started putting together Team Twisted Running for Ragnar Tennessee, some of the most avid runners I know shot the idea of a relay down immediately—they’re just not into team things. Others that I thought would never go for the idea, or that didn’t know well, were right up there on board from the first mention. As my Ragnar Chicago teammate George said, It’s not about getting the fastest or best runners—it’s about getting people who can commit, send you the money, and take a day or two off work to have the time of their lives.
4. Share. If you have the chance to run with a team before putting together your own, share your experience on Twitter or Facebook. A lot. Not one picture of the start, or one of the finish. But blow your feed up showing them how much fun you are having. I made entire Facebook albums for both relays and posted in real-time all the craziness. One of the reasons we made the video of our Chicago team was to help get people excited about the team, and it worked.<p><a href=”http://vimeo.com/43902693″>Ragnar Chicago 2012: Better Off in the Long Run</a> from <a href=”http://vimeo.com/user12106537″>TwistedRunning</a> on <a href=”http://vimeo.com”>Vimeo</a>.</p>
5. Go where the runners go. Run with groups, befriend the ones wearing race t-shirts in you classes at the gym, join a running club. Likewise, find the runners in your area on Twitter. I nearly recruited a teammate off Twitter; he had a family commitment that kept him from doing it, but it’s good to harness the power of the internet for good. 😉
6. Phone a Friend. If you know someone else who is really into the idea too, suggest co-captaining a team—they fill one van and you fill the other. Then you only have to find 5 runners.
7. Ask your team to Phone a Friend. A team member who commits may have a friend who wants to join in the fun, but may not necessarily think to offer them up. Ask them. Also, they may be more willing to commit if you encourage them to bring a friend. One of my teams consists of three husband-and-wife combos, two sisters, two gym buddies, and two other guys who weren’t friends before, but are now. Once the circle starts growing, it may surprise you!
I hope those tips help you to get started planning your team. Dive in and see what you find! Just about anyone who’s up for a 36-hour, 200-mile running road trip is probably a lot of fun to be around. Go on, see who’s out there looking to share an adventure with you!