It was 4 am, dark, and our van of teammates were starting to feel the aches and pains.  Mitch’s feet were covered in blisters,  Abe’s muscles were screaming, Alyson had leg cramps, and I had heat rash. We hadn’t slept in 24 hours, and we were only half way through one of the most challenging running race relays in the world. It’s called Ragnar. The Napa Valley Ragnar Relay.

Napa Valley Ragnar Relay

Napa Valley Ragnar Relay

Ragnar is the overnight running relay race that 12 crazy people run.  Who runs from San Francisco to Calistoga, California? Insanely crazy people. Here’s how it works. The team takes turns to run 36 segments over a 205 mile course. Running day and night, each runner is assigned 3 legs that range from 2 to 11.5 miles and varies in difficulty – elevation and terrain.

Napa Valley Ragnar Relay

Piling into two vans, the team follows one runner at a time as they “take the baton” and run their leg of the race relay-style.

Napa Valley Ragnar Relay


Napa Valley Ragnar Relay

This year, our relay team of 12 decided to test our limits at the Napa Valley Ragnar Relay. Some of us were elite runners, others novice joggers, and others were new to running so it was a great race for all levels.

Napa Valley Ragnar Relay

The route started from San Francisco and headed north over the Golden Gate Bridge. Then through the rolling hills and farmland of Petaluma before heading toward the Valley of the Moon. Our team then headed south to Sonoma and along country roads to Napa Valley, where endless vineyards surrounded runners.

Napa Valley Ragnar Relay

Napa Valley Ragnar Relay

It was rewarding to cross the finish line in Calistoga – a real bonding experience for our team!

Napa Valley Ragnar Relay Napa Valley Ragnar Relay

Napa Valley Ragnar Relay

We asked the team to describe their Napa Valley Ragnar Relay experience…

“Ragnar is like life. But Ragnar is a lot harder!”

Napa Valley Ragnar Relay


“Ragnar is much more fun than I thought it would be. Didn’t want it to end!”

Napa Valley Ragnar Relay



“I really never considered myself a runner, but after Ragnar, developed a new passion for running.“

“I pushed myself mentally and physically. It’s true, the mind quits before the body.”

Napa Valley Ragnar Relay

“Awesome team. Unforgettable memories. Beautiful surroundings.”

Napa Valley Ragnar Relay

“Oiselle made me feel great on the outside, and Nuun made me feel great on the inside!”

“Training is everything!”

Napa Valley Ragnar Relay

“Best of all was the blessing of being together to share Ragnar–LOVED the upbeat, ‘can do’ encouragement offered each runner.  LOVED the courage to set out and tackle hard and unconquered personal territories.  LOVED the beautiful surroundings, misty mornings and quaint little towns.  LOVED the soul and the spirit we all felt.”
Napa Valley Ragnar Relay
“The team’s support to Kyle and me–we loved being able to run a leg together. We will always wonder HOW our Team Captain Steve ran that beastly 11 mile leg in the heat of the day.  We did it!”  


Napa Valley Ragnar Relay


What to Wear?


The women on our team wore Oiselle running clothes because they’re comfortable and they look good. Sally Bergesen, Founder + CEO, started Oiselle to help women find running apparel that they love to run in! She shares, “the idea for Oiselle started several years earlier. After two kids and six years of just running, I was ready to train and race again. But what I thought would be a quick trip to the running store to buy new shorts ended in disappointment. Too poofy, too baggy, too high-waisted, and all wrong in the color department.”

All Premium Screen Printing & Embroidery 

All Premium did a fantastic job printing our t-shirts for the Ragnar Napa Relay! We loved the shirts they provided too – comfortable and quick drying for running.

napa valley ragnar relay

How to Stay Energized & Hydrated?


Nuun’s electrolyte enhanced drink tablets energized us and helped us to optimize our performance during the Ragnar relay.

napa valley ragnar relay napa valley ragnar relay

Here’s what we love about these tablets:

Packed with electrolytes, light flavor, no sugars or carbs, and portable, Nuun Active Hydration is the perfect sports drink.

The electrolytes found in Nuun will help alleviate cramps, help muscles function, communicate and burn energy efficiently.

Nuun Active Hydration comes in 12 flavors: Orange, Lemon Lime, Strawberry Lemonade, Fruit Punch, Kona Cola, Lemon Tea, Tri-Berry, Grape, Tropical, Citrus Fruit, Watermelon, and Lemonade.



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Where to Stay?

Fairfield Marriott Inn & Suites in Sebastopol

This was an ideal location for our relay team to take naps and sleep a few hours before the next running segment. There’s also a pool and hot tub to soothe sore muscles and body aches.

napa valley ragnar relay

Comfortable rooms, great beds, and centrally located in Napa Valley. Owner Cindy Lok, and General Manager Robert Papera note that, “The hotel is in the in the heart of this scenic region, nestled between Santa Rosa and the gorgeous Pacific Coast, with easy access to wineries and vineyards in Napa Valley and Sonoma County, along with artisan shops and gourmet restaurants in downtown Sebastopol. Explore the dramatic beauty of Bodega Bay, admire towering trees at Armstrong Redwoods State Park – a premium choice for all types of travelers.”

How to Get Around?


We were a 12 person team and needed a large vehicle to get us around the relay destinations. Hertz provided us with a 15-passenger van that gave us some room to stretch and relax in between running segments.

Mike Koker, General Manager at Hertz SFO (San Francisco International Airport) and Mike Fini provided us with excellent service.

napa valley ragnar relay

Napa Valley Tours & Transportation

(NVTT) Napa Valley Tours & Transportation delivers the red carpet & white glove service! For 15 years, President Michael Graham has operated a family-owned company that provides full transportation service. His fleet of hundreds of vehicles are available to suit your needs from town cars to buses. Bill raises the bar for Chauffeurs – professional, prompt, and shares local knowledge and insights that are invaluable. NVTT’s concierge service helps you to plan your trip and make the most efficient use of your time.

napa valley ragnar relay

For reservations, call #707.251.9463 or #888.946.3859

For more information on Ragnar, visit the Ragnar website here.

Travel Acknowledgements 

Thank you to Hertz, Fairfield Marriott in Sebastopol, NVTT (Napa Valley Tours & Transportation), Boeing, Oiselle, All Premium Printing, Nuun for hosting our team at the Ragnar Napa Relay!

napa valley ragnar relay

Written by Patricia Stone, a travel writer and consultant with

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