King County Bureaufasts conquer 200-mile Ragnar Relay  

The King County Bureaufasts, a 12-person King County employee running squad, completed the Reebok Ragnar Northwest Passage Relay July 14-15, spanning 200 miles of relay running from Blaine to Langley, WA.

Pictured: Front row Brandon Croniser, Andrew Fraser, Al Dams, Ellie Letterman, Tricia Davis, Annie Kolb-Nelson, Doug Hodson; back row Seth Watson, Tom Koney, Adam Vance, Collin Pedersen, Ken Gu.

With some new faces on the team this year, the King County team shared two days of bonding, cheering, fatigue, and most importantly, a weekend in the Ragnar Bubble. The team trekked through some of the most breathtaking scenic views that the Pacific Northwest has to offer including Mount Baker and Olympic Mountain to Deception Pass and Puget Sound. Each member ran three legs of the relay – an average of 16.5 miles per runner.

King County Chief Deputy Assessor Al Dams participated for the fourth straight year, captaining and coordinating the Bureaufasts for the last two years – a role he plans to continue.

As part of their second annual relay, KC Bureaufasts team finished 58th out of 514 teams with a time of 27:57:07. Additionally, the team ranked fourth out of 38 teams for Corporate/Public Service division (third in the men’s division) and savored their victory once again over the We Run Better Than The Government team.

Pictured: Left to right Collin Pedersen, Andrew Fraser, Ken Guy, Brandon Croniser, Tom Koney, Al Dams.

Dams, who ran 17.8 miles over three legs, said, “One of our goals is to make sure we always beat the We Run Better Than The Government team; last year, as we passed them by, we said ‘you’re not running better than this Government.’”

In addition to the accomplishments on the road, the team is having success increasing female participation, up to three female runners from one in 2016. The team has also retained five of its first-year team members.

Reebok Ragnar’s Extra Mile Charity Program supports Seattle’s Union Gospel Mission, It Ain’t Chemo and ALS Association. Participating teams also have the ability to fundraise for a cause of their choice.

“The plan for this year was to establish that this will be a tradition for the King County running community, and not just a one year deal last year. The goal for next year is to start the tradition of raising money for charity – a charity from the Employee Giving Campaign list,” Dams said.

Dams encourages runners of all levels to challenge themselves and their paradigms of long distance running in a team-supportive environment. “Once you get the Ragnar bug, it’s hard to let go of it,” Dams added.

Ellie Letterman

County Records Analyst Ellie Letterman ran a whopping 20 miles over three legs. Ellie encourages anyone who loves to run to participate in next year’s Ragnar.

“Don’t worry about your running skill level, if you can run, then this event will be fun for you (and if you are ok on 3 hours sleep [Symbol]). There is a place for male and female runners of different levels, skill, and speed,” Ellie said. “The focus is not on how fast and far you can go – it’s really more about if the van can manage to hit up Starbucks and navigate to the next stop in time before the runner finishes their leg.”

Ellie says that unlike other running events, camaraderie is at the core of Ragnar. “This event allows you time in between runs to get to know others, and cheer each other on during the route,” Ellie said. “No one is left behind, and there is no competition between team mates, but we certainly had fun competing with other teams and counting “kills” (when you pass another runner on the course). “

In like manner, Human Resources Manager Seth Watson has participated in Ragnar both years with the King County Bureaufasts team and has thoroughly enjoyed both times. This year, Seth ran 11.7 miles over the three-leg event.

Aside from the overnight experience of the event and sleeping at high school football fields, Seth’s favorite part of the event is, “The culture of the race and race day. It’s a community-intensive running experience.”

Seth’s advice for newbies: “Speak to someone that has done it before. Know that it’s going to be hot; wear technical running clothes and appropriate running shoes.”

Reebok Ragnar Northwest Passage Relay 2017 participants included: Adam Vance, Al Dams, Andrew Fraser, Annie Kolb-Nelson, Brandon Croniser, Collin Pedersen, Doug Hodson, Ellie Letterman, Ken Guy, Seth Watson, Tom Koney and Tricia Davis.

For information about the King County Bureaufasts team or to get involved, contact Al Dams at Al.Dams@KingCounty.gov.  To learn more about Reebok Ragnar, visit their website.