Ragnar SWAT Volunteer Q&A – with my Dad!

20 Jun

Today I thought it would be fun to get a volunteer’s perspective of a Ragnar Relay race!

If any teammate lives within 80 miles of the Ragnar race, the team is expected to fill 3 volunteers spots – either by paying a fee (that is donated to a charity who provides volunteers), or by getting 3 people to sign up as a volunteer, or 1 person to sign up as a SWAT Super volunteer! When we found out about the requirement I immediately thought of my dad, who loves to run and loves to give back to the running community. We totally lucked out that he qualified as a SWAT volunteer (due to his past race organization experience) and I got to see him as I finished my first leg! ย I asked him to participate in a Q&A to give you an idea of what is involved in volunteering for a Ragnar Relay. Thanks Dad! (Side note, if you want to read all of my Ragnar Pennsylvania recaps and posts they’re all located here.) ย 


How many races have you done?

30+ half marathons, four fulls, and numerous 5K & 10K local races.

Bird In Hand Half Marathon with Bart Yasso

What’s your favorite distance?

Half marathons; good for my body type and personality. ย Plus anyone – with a bit of training – can finish a half marathon and meet their race goal. I love to see the finishers with that look of satisfaction of their faces.

Why did you agree to be a SWAT volunteer?

My daughter Rebecca had signed up for a Ragnar team and as part of the registration process, they needed to supply some volunteers. I’ve worked a few races before and enjoyed the experience plus it was a chance for me to see my daughter and her friends run in an ultra relay race.

What was the application process like?

It was a pretty rigorous application process. I filled out a fairly detailed on-line questionnaire to apply to be a SWAT (Sweaty, Wet and Tired) super volunteer to manage one of the exchanges. Followed up by a 30-minute telephone interview with a few tough questions.

Ragnar PA Dad (1)

What exchange point were you at, how much time did you spend there and what did you have to coordinate?

I was the manager for Major Exchange 12 (the 1/3 way point) where the vans converged to transition from one van to the next. My volunteers coordinated parking (the biggest challenge), tracked times for the finishing runners, and directed the next runner to their next leg. Plus we had a Medical tent. It was a long day for me – 9:30 AM to 11:00 PM.

What was the best part?

Seeing the enthusiasm of the runners for their team mates. The look of satisfaction (and relief) on the runner’s faces as they crossed the exchange point. And for me personally, to see my daughter Rebecca run up the last hill prior to the exchange point.

Ragnar PA Leg 1 (9)

What was the most difficult thing about being a SWAT volunteer?

As a major exchange manager, it was a super long day on my feet to make sure all was going smoothly. My Garmin had me walking over 12 miles ๐Ÿ™‚ Other than that, it was super cool to be a volunteer. Ragnar did a great job with the organization; the runners were super cool, friendly, polite, and gracious.

What was the strangest thing that happened?

Our Exchange was set up on school property so we had a built-in cheering section of elementary school children and later in the day the runners were able to watch several little league baseball games as they waited for their runner to finish the leg.

What was your favorite team that you saw come through?

My daughers team – Runnersaurus Rex of course!

Any creative mascots/team names/outfits/van decorations?

Several vans had inflatable fish or animals strapped to their roofs. The ‘smiling shark’ was one of my favorites.

Would you volunteer for Ragnar again?


Would you ever run as part of a Ragnar team?

If my knee ever heals up to 100%! There’s a lot of road shoulders to run on.




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