King County runners represent in Reebok Ragnar Northwest Passage Relay

A team of 12 King County employees found their ‘inner wild’ and conquered 200-ish miles of relay running through the Northwest Passage July 15-16 in the Reebok Ragnar Northwest Passage Relay.

A week after supporting his children’s high school team during the 2015 relay, Al Dams, Chief Deputy Assessor, pitched the idea of forming a King County team for the 2016 Ragnar during a regular lunch-time run with his fellow King County Running Club members. A year later, after recruiting nearly 20 runners to ultimately field a team of 12, the King County team not only participated in the Ragnar, but placed 32nd of 523 teams – and second in the “Corporate / Public Service” division – with a time of 26 hours and 25 minutes. When asked what the most rewarding aspect of the event was, Al said, “Being part of a great team, and just escaping into Ragnar …for 30 hours, the only thing on your mind is Ragnar!”

The team members each ran three legs of the relay that began near the Canadian border in Blaine and ended in Langley on Whidbey Island. Along the way, the team enjoyed the views of the Cascade and Olympic ranges, the quaintness of towns like Bellingham and Anacortes, and the bridge in Deception Pass State Park. The average distance covered by each runner was 16 1/3 miles, with an average pace approaching 8 minutes. Three team members covered more than 20 miles each. Al said the most challenging part of the event was the mental aspect of running three legs. “If you run a half marathon, you run and then you are done. In the Ragnar, you run, then you rest for a bit, then you get out of the van and do it again – twice!”

The King County team will host an employee informational session in preparation for the 2017 event in room 560 of the Administration Building (500 Fourth Avenue) August 17 from noon to 1 p.m. The team is looking to maintain the current team, and possibly form more teams, which could either allow placement in different divisions, or simply allow for competitive teams and not-so-competitive teams. “We know other County employees took part in Ragnar because we saw them on the course,” Al said. “Maybe they would switch to a King County team for next year’s relay.” The teams are self-sponsored (no taxpayer funds are used).

For more information about the King County Ragnar team, stop by the employee informational session or contact Al Dams at Al.Dams@KingCounty.gov. If you are interested in the King County Running Club, contact Seth Watson at Seth.Watson@KingCounty.gov. To learn more about the Reebok Ragnar Northwest Passage Relay, visit the official Ragnar site.