Ragnar Relay gives an Olympic ringer to one Vegas team

Middle-distance savant Nick Symmonds could be your 12th man

You want fast? How about having two-time Olympian Nick Symmonds join your Ragnar team?
Photo: Charlie Neibergall/AP

Olympic 800-meter runner Nick Symmonds was born three days after me in late December of 1983. I’m sure we both get screwed on birthday presents, but that’s about where the similarities end. Or rather, that’s where the similarities ended until I got an email last week announcing that, like me, Symmonds was going to run the upcoming Ragnar Relay in Las Vegas on November 9-10. In fact, he might even be running on my team.

Nick Symmonds is the grand prize for Ragnar’s Run With an Olympian contest. The 24-hour relay takes teams of 12 competitors over 196 miles from Mount Charleston to Lake Las Vegas, with each racer running three times. Until October 1, teams can submit a video explaining why they want to spend 24 hours in a cramped van with the third fastest middle distance runner in U.S. history, and the winning team—determined by public voting and judges’ marks—will get to add Mr. Symmonds to their lineup, guaranteeing that at least three legs of the race will be run at shockingly fast speeds. Of course, there’s to more to a good Ragnar teammate than pace. Personally, before I’d let Nick join the Tire-less 12 I’d ask him a few tough questions: What kind of snacks do you plan to bring? Who’s on your pre-run pump-up mix? And how loud are you capable of cheering in the cold at 3 in the morning on two hours of sleep?

With less than a week to go in the contest, only three video entries had been uploaded to Ragnar Relay’s Facebook page, which means if you decide you want Mr. Speedy on your team, you’ve got a pretty good chance of winning his mighty kick. Just don’t forget to wish him a happy early birthday.

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