Driving through a cold, sleepless night and subsisting on oatmeal-chocolate chip cookies, strawberry licorice and Gatorade, the UST River Runners pulled through to take first in the corporate/mixed [gender] division at the 2009 Myomed Ragnar Relay Aug. 21-22.
The team completed the 193-mile race in 25 hours, 45 minutes and 47 seconds, to earn 36th place out of 216 teams, running an average pace of seven minutes 55 seconds per mile.
The 12 runners were: Phil Anderson, Opus College of Business; Tonia Bock, Psychology; Lisa Burke, Opus College of Business; Ryan Carter, UST Libraries; Patty Costello, alumni; Dan Gjelten, UST Libraries; Kelly Hailstone, University Relations; Tom Hiendlmayr, friend of St. Thomas; Jesse Langer, Opus College of Business; Suzanne Krzmarzick, Opus College of Business; Julie Schwalbach, Human Resources; and Maggie Tacheny, cousin of Schwalbach.
The team members, divided equally into two vans, each ran three of 36 legs, ranging from three to eight miles, in the 24-plus-hour relay race. Hiendlmayr, the team’s first runner, began at the race start in Winona at 9:30 a.m. on Friday. Runners met at exchange points, mostly in small towns in Wisconsin along the Mississippi River. The last team member, Krzmarzick, reached the finish line at Boom Island Park in Minneapolis around 10 a.m. on Saturday.
Schwalbach, who served as the team’s leader, said, “This is the third relay event I've run with the UST River Runners, and each has turned out to be an incredible highlight of the summer. The beautiful course, camaraderie of the team and the sense of accomplishment in finishing is worth all the training of the summer.”
With plans to run another relay with the team next year, she added, “It would be great to have more than one team next year, so if people are interested they should let us know.”
The Ragnar Great River Relay is part of the Ragnar Relay Series, with additional courses in 10 other states.