The latest rage, Ragnar running

Runners looking for a running challenge, but finding events like Tough Mudder too hard on the body might find a Ragnar relay race is more up your alley.

The Las Vegas relay race is a heart-pounding race which starts at 8,500-feet above sea level at the top of Las Vegas Ski and Snowboard Resort. The race then winds itself down the mountainside through the night and into Las Vegas to the finish at Lake Las Vegas.

Today more than 480 teams will rotate runners along the 187-mile course. This is the Ragnar Relay Series’ fifth consecutive year in Las Vegas. The race starts will be from 4 a.m. to 5 p.m. and the finish will be from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. on Saturday.

According to race spokesperson Jon Mattrisch, many of the participants like to have fun with the event by dressing in wild costumes and decorating support vehicles. Mattrisch said there are teams of 6-12 people and there are 36 legs on the course.

Mattrisch said Ragnar is also doing a Ragnar shadow relay where 60 soldiers in Afghanistan are running a similar course on base which is the same distance. Registration is closed for this race, but any Ragnar race registration opens four months in advance.

Pahrump runner Neil Sonerholm runs three times a week about 3-5 miles and thinks Ragnars are fun.

“This will be my third regular Ragnar. Every single time I say it is my last one because I am always hurting towards the end. I do this for the fitness, but a lot of it is for the camaraderie,” he said.

He just started running Ragnars and then his friends found out at work he liked to do them.

“I know a lot of guys who run this and they are always asking me because they know I have done them before,” he said. “They ask me and I go along with it. I started running in middle school and then I stopped. I started again when I was 30 as a fitness thing and I am 38 now. I have done the Tough Mudder and a lot of 5Ks and I have done a half marathon. It’s mostly just friends and somebody is looking for someone to run with and I go with it. It’s fun to hang out with friends.”

Tom Vehe is also a runner/biker who lives in Pahrump. This will be his first time doing this. He was asked to run this run by a cousin of his who works in Las Vegas. Vehe is an avid fitness person who has done a half marathon, bikes a lot and has also has done triathlons. Doing a Ragnar for him is not that strenuous.

“I competed in a triathlon just a couple of weeks ago and I bike a couple hundred miles a week. This is actually a pretty mild deal for me. Everyone is different based on your level of athleticism. The people who don’t run as often will run 3 miles in this Ragnar. Every one runs three legs and the legs can be as short as three or as long as 10. My first leg is 10 miles and the longest I have ever run is 15 miles,” he said.

Vehe at 38-years-old hopes to do a marathon one day but his real passion is biking and plans on doing more bike races in the near future.

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