Disclosure: Our team and this post is sponsored by Reebok Canada, but like always, this is my honest opinion.
A month ago I saw that one of my favourite local bloggers was looking for a van driver for their Reebok Ragnar Niagara team. At the time I had no idea they were a sponsored team, so I responded that while I wasn’t interested in driving, I was free that weekend and would be interested in running in case anyone had to drop out. I had half heartedly tried to put a team together but it didn’t work out. I figured I’d get a thumbs up on my comment and that would be it. Instead she immediately messaged me to ask if I was serious – to which I replied I was. After she consulted the team captain (convinced Allison that I wasn’t some crazy person), she let me know that I was on the team, and oh by the way, could I come to the Reebok Canada head office to learn about their new running gear, run the race entirely decked out in Reebok gear (activchill is awesome!) and wear the Reebok Floatride shoes? (Check out my review here).
Yes, yes, and yes! – I was on the team.
After a month of anticipation, race eve was finally here! I was so excited that I barely slept, which was a good thing because I had to wake up at 6 am to pick up Ange (Cowgirlruns) from the airport. That evening we went to a van decorating party hosted by Reebok and a team dinner where I finally got to meet the team I was running with.
Cathy and her company Gawck had created and printed all of our van decals and team logos for us – I personally think we had the best vans and team logo of the entire race!
Van 1 – in running order:
Van 2 – in running order:
We checked into our hotel and Ange and Cathy handed out gifts for us. Ange’s friend Katie from https://www.damngoodsportsgroup.com had made trucker hats for us with our Endorphriend “monster” on it for each of us. Cathy had made team t-shirts and Endorphriend motivational bracelets.
Since I was in van 1 I headed straight to bed – we had to be up early to pick up breakfast and to drive out to Cobourg – it was far further outside of Toronto than I had imagined and Toronto was the 1/2 way point of the race!
Look out Ragnar – here we come!
We eventually arrived and made our way to the start line to sign in, watch the hilarious safety video and to pick up our safety equipment.
Carmy was our first runner and she took off quickly like a bat straight outta he– for her 4.1k run along the beautiful Cobourg beach board walk – this race start puts the Huntington Beach start line of Ragnar SoCal to shame!
Carmy floating in her Reebok Floatride shoes.
We hung out at the start line for a bit with Team Reebok and the photographer, and took a team warm up along the Cobourg Beach. We then rushed off in our van to meet Carmy at exchange 1. I guess I became the official navigator and van mom for the team because I had brought an extra cell phone to use as a GPS. I got to ride shot-gun the entire race!
Carmy handed of to Ange at exchange 1 and off Ange flew off to run 7.9k!
Next up was Eric for his 11.7k run – he zoomed through his leg quickly not leaving me much time to prepare for my 9.2k leg from Wesleyville Church.
This church had the most amazing bake sale – too bad I was about to run!
Eric hands off to me, and away I float away!
My run was 9k on rolling country roads – I joined this team a month ago so I didn’t have time to do any “training”. I had estimated what my pace would be based on what I’ve raced in the past, despite the fact that my running has been less than stellar lately. The hills would have been killer, however I LIKE running country roads with hills. The BUGS on the other hand were AWFUL! I had to run with one hand holding my tank top over my mouth the whole way to keep the tiny flies from going into my mouth, though I do think I swallowed about 50 of them!
The views of Lake Ontario were gorgeous!
I even ran alongside the cutest farm with a barn, red silo and the cutest cows ever.
I made two kills but unfortunately I got stopped by a train so my second kill caught up to me, plus another runner. Thankfully after the gates went up I could take off and leave them in my dust.
I think I had 2k to go at this point. I kept running along, swatting flies, breathing through my shirt and trying not to hyperventilate and have a panic attack like I did at Ironman 70.3 Muskoka (just keep running… just keep running…). Finally I reached the 1k mark and sent a text to my team. As I reached the end of my leg there was a killer hill to run up, thankfully Carmy and Ben were there to run up with me! I have NEVER had anyone run me in at the end of a race, and OMG, it felt amazing. Thank you so much guys!
I finished my leg in 53 minutes – exactly as predicted, then handed of to Erik. Erik’s 9.5k run was also a buggy, country road filled with tasty little flies.
Go Erik go!
Erik handed off to Ben for his 8.7 k run at a gorgeous waterfront somewhere in eastern Durham Region (I think – LOL).
We enjoyed the views for a while, then had to race out to meet Van 2 at exchange 6.
Stay tuned for my Leg 2 recap and enjoy these posts from my teammates: