After watching the Hood to Coast movie earlier in the week, it got me thinking about the Ragnar Relay that I ran. Which got me thinking about all the packing and prep work that goes into doing one of these events. These are just some of my personal suggestions. If you have already done one of these events, this post is probably old news. These are just things that I had not even consider before I did one of these events. So maybe it will help someone out.
1) Forming a team: Want to do this event but don't already have a team? Ask around and talk about this with people you like. Why, only ask people you like? Because you don't want to end up in a van for 36 hours with someone you don't like. You never know who may be interested in doing this. School friends, coworkers, blog friends, runner and non-runner friends, social groups you are a part of, etc... Trust me, I've seen teams made-up of the strangest bunch of people you will ever meet.
2) Costume and theme: Really good to establish these 2 things. It will become your identity. When you are a 12-person team, it is hard for other teams to get to know each member of a team individually. So having a team identity is high priority. Pick something clever or funny. Example...I saw a teams with names like Rucking Funners or the all popular WTF (Where's the Finish?).
3) Van decoration: This is important, make sure you decorate your van. Decorating your van to match your theme and costumes is a plus! You will look like a totally lame team if you don't decorate your van. Everyone will mistaken your ride for a delivery van or kidnapping van.
4) Van (your home away from home): it is probably in your best interest to rent a large van. Sure you can use your friend's Explorer or a minivan but based on my experience, renting a 15 passenger van is the way to go. Trust me, you want to have a lot of room to relax in and not be pressed up against your sweaty friend who just came in from running their leg.
5) Showers: this one is purely optional but will make this race a lot more enjoyable. What you want to do, depending on which van you are in is to rent a cheap motel or hotel room along the route during your van break just after everyone in your van is done with their second leg. Even though you and your van mates will likely not get to sleep much in the room, it is still nice for everyone to be able to take a shower. Doing this will make the final leg of the race SO much more tolerable. Not going to lie, the third leg is not pleasant. You are tired and hungry, the last thing you want to be is stinky, chafing or have swamp privates. You definitely don't want that last thing.
6) Misc Items: Bring cowbells/vuvuzelas/pompoms (to cheer your runners on from the van or sidelines), sidewalk chalk and sharpies, gallon size Ziplock bags and heavy duty trash bags. Towels, bring a couple to sit on and wrap around yourself after your leg(s).
That's about all I can think of right now. I was kinda reaching on that last item. The first 5 are important, the last one is if you have space on the van. Except for the trash bags and towels. Those are important.