So, as most of you know, I participated in the Wild West Relay this August with five awesome teammates. (Scroll back to old posts to get the mile-by-mile experience.)
Well, there’s been some drama recently with the relay industry in Denver, and reasonably so.
The long and the short of it is that Ragnar Relays is looking to debut its first relay in Colorado next summer (it has 15 others going elsewhere already). Ragnar will come in addition to Wild West Relay and the Colorado Relay, two longstanding events that are local favorites. And, Ragnar could be called a bit of a copy cat. They took their route from the Colorado Relay course.
The Denver Post has a good column on this here: http://www.denverpost.com/meyer/ci_18984069.
And, the director of the Wild West Relay has published an article on this here: http://www.timberlineevents.com/ragnar/ragnar_relays_is_stealing_races.html.
Here’s my take on the situation: I hate it when large companies come in and make a commodity out of something local and unique. Seems like Ragnar is doing just that.
The Rock ‘n’ Roll marathon series is a good example of this. They appeal to the masses, creating large, cumbersome events. I loved the Denver Marathon and its course. I ran that race twice, and qualified for the Boston Marathon my second time running the Denver race, a lifelong goal. Yet, Denver Marathon was gobbled up by Rock ‘n’ Roll and I don’t think it’ll ever be the same. I don’t think I’ll ever run it again.
Another example could be with Core Power Yoga. They turned Yoga into a sweatshop in Denver, expanding into every single neighborhood. Going to a class at Core Power is an excercise class. A sweaty, packed excercise class. Going to a class elsewhere (see my list in a recent post), you get a more personal and whole-body experience.
So, in a sense, I feel that’s what Ragnar Relays is doing to the relay scene in Colorado. Their founder, Tanner Bell, even said it himself (quote from Denver Post article):
“Frankly, I think even with somewhat of a similar course, I think we offer an experience that is unique,” Bell said. “I actually think Ragnar is a tide that will lift all boats and everybody will benefit. There’s an amazing experience to be had at the Colorado Relay, at Wild West and the Ragnar Relay.”
Why, exactly, is Ragnar ‘a tide that will lift all boats??’ What is it that they do better?? It sure doesn’t seem like they’ve approached anything in an original manner. Humph.