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Just in time for Ragnar Chicago, here’s a glossary of must-know words.

Blinkie: A red light worn on the back of a runner during nighttime hours, or put on the mile marker signs on the course.

Bracelet: Slap bracelet worn by the current runner on the team. These are exchanged between the current runner and the new runner at each exchange.

Cowbell: The thing you need more of. Also, an excellent and obnoxious cheering tool.

Crazy: Adjective often used to describe Ragnarians.

Crazy? I think not.

Crazy? I think not.

Exchange: The spot where one runner finishes a leg and the runner starts.

Friturday: The days on which a Ragnar takes place. Refers to the way in which Friday and Saturday run together when you are on a steady diet of no-sleep.

Hand Off: When the slap bracelet is exchanged between runners.

A slap bracelet, handoff, and exchange.

A slap bracelet, handoff, and exchange.

Leg: A distance run in Ragnar, usually between 3 and 9 miles. Each runner runs three of these over the course of the race.

Major Exchange: The spot where runner 6 hands off to runner 7, or where runner 12 hands off to runner 1. All vans, and therefore all runners, meet at this point, so it is convenient spot to make available food, sleep, showers, and vendors.

Major Exchange. And an attempt at “sleep.”


Major Exchange.

Race Bible: All the rules that guide a Ragnar, in written form. Have to have one in each van.

Ragnar: A legendary Norse ruler and hero from the Viking Age who became known as the scourge of France and England and as the father of many renowned sons. Also, a 200-mile overnight relay running series, and THE MOST AWESOME TIME OF YOUR LIFE.

Ragnarian: One who has completed a Ragnar.



Roadkill: What Ragnarians call a runner that they overtake and pass during a leg. Teams often track this with tally marks on the side of their van.

Sleep: Mythological tale of complete rest during the two-day Ragnar experience.

Support: When a runner’s van or teammates offer water, food, or cheering during the runner’s leg.

Tag: The act of  leaving a mark on another team’s van, via marker, magnet, or mustache (true story).

Van: The vehicle that takes you between exchanges, and that holds your luggage. Each team has two, with six runners in each (unless the team is a six-runner Ultra team. One van for them).






Van, awaiting Roadkill tally.

Vest: Reflective vest worn by runners during nighttime hours. So’s no one gets hit by a car or van.