MIAMI (CBSMiami) – Thousands of runners are set for an overnight relay journey that starts in Key Biscayne Friday, and ends all the way down when they reach the Southernmost Point of Florida.
The Ragnar Relay begins Friday morning at 6 a.m. for approximately 6,000 runners at Virginia Key Beach in Key Biscayne.
Five-hundred teams from across the country will begin the nearly 200 mile trek, 196.9-mile to be exact, that continues through the night until the runners reach the finish line at Higgs Beach in Key West.
The race down to the Keys, which ends anywhere from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. Saturday, features runners, many garbed in costumes, which travel with team members.
Each team consists of 12 runners who travel, when not running, in two vans. The vans are often adorned with team names, quotes and more.
All team members are responsible for running three different legs on the route down to Key West which range anywhere from just less than two miles, all the way up to the longest leg of 11.8 miles.
The Miami-to-Key West race is the season opener for the Ragnar Relay. Other races include Napa Valley, Tennessee, Colorado, and more, totaling 16 other relays across the country.
The Ragnar raises money for several charities, including the YMCA, Friends of Higgs Beach, Special Olympics .
“This community has been a great partner in our quest to make life more awesome for everyone involved,” said Tanner Bell, Co-Founder and President of Ragnar in a press release. “We are inspired by our runners, volunteers and the many local businesses that join us in making a lasting impact for organizations like Special Olympics Florida.
CBSMiami.com spoke with Lissette Ochoa, who is running the Ragnar for the second year in a row as part of the team Mixed Nuts.
“Best part is the sense of adventure you feel throughout,” said Ochoa. “It’s very different from a marathon in that you are part of a team and all of you are on this fun and crazy adventure together.”
Ochoa, the first runner of her team, embarks on her first leg of 5.7 miles, which crosses over the Rickenbacker, then followed by 8.8 miles in Homestead, and ending with 2.4 miles in Marathon.
The Mixed Nuts, participating in the Ragnar for the fifth year in a row, plan on decorating their vans, wearing team shirts, crowns, tutus and more.
Ochoa said the decorating of the vans and dressing up is, “half the fun.”
For more information about the Ragnar Relay Series in the Florida Keys visit http://www.ragnarrelay.com/race/floridakeys.