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Grand Targhee hosts Wyoming’s first Ragnar race

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Ragnar Trails Tetons—billed as an opportunity to “find your inner wild”—will challenge teams of four or eight runners to turn a traditionally solitary pursuit into a group effort.

“You make pushing yourself to your own limits a team sport,” said Jonathan Jarrett, a Ragnar market development associate who’s heading up the overnight relay race at Grand Targhee.

Each team member will run an equal share of the 120-mile timed course. Racers on eight-person teams will run 15 miles in three legs; racers on four-member teams will run 30 miles in six legs.

Ragnar, named after a Viking warlord and adventurer, is a fitting name for the Tetons course: it tops out just shy of 8,300 feet, making it one of the highest elevation races under the Ragnar umbrella.

The overnight relay race concept is the brainchild of Steve Hill; his son Dan; and Dan’s college roommate, Tanner Bell. Steve had long dreamed of running a 24-hour relay across the Wasatch Mountains. In 2004 the trio did it, running 188 miles from Logan, Utah to Park City, Utah in a race known as the Wasatch Back Relay.

A couple years later, they were approached by some investors to grow the race. It has since expanded to 38 road and trail races across the U.S. Ragnar trails launched four years ago and this is the first year that the number of trail races will eclipse road races.

“We love the Tetons and wanted to find a trail race near there,” Jarrett said of the Sept. 9-10 race. “And it’s hard to beat Grand Targhee’s trails.”

Teams camp on site at “Ragnar Village”; Dinner and a bonfire complete with coffee, hot chocolate and s’mores will keep resting team members fueled for their next leg.

This year’s event is full, but interested parties can sign up now for the 2017 race.

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