BUILD YOUR TEAM
So you area ready to conquer the Outback but aren’t quite sure what this 200-ish mile overnight endurance relay is all about? Well, let’s just say, we added the word “Endurance” for a reason. It is both mentally and physically challenging. We believe when you complete our course, you will leave with the confidence that you can conquer anything. Although we can’t promise easy, we can say with confidence that if well-organized by you as a team captain, this running adventure will be an unforgettable weekend with friends. Being a team captain is like being a mini race director. Your leadership will directly impact the experience of the runners on your team. Therefore we expect you to follow our guidelines and recommendations so that everyone has a safe and awesome experience!
Here is what to expect:
- A chance to challenge yourself as you run 3 times (or 6 times) in a 36-hour period, with one run that will happen in the middle of the night.
- The support of 11 (or 5) of your teammates.
- A chance to run through the Ozark mountains with spectacular views and some of the most scenic country in the Natural State.
- Exchange points (where one runner hands off to the next) at 5 beautiful State Parks where there are hot showers and flushing toilets available (3 of the 5 parks). These are like mini-parties throughout the 200ish miles.
- A chance to visit Terra Studios, a local Art Commune and home of the Famous BlueBird of Happiness
- Sponsor goodies, contests, giveaways and freebies.
- A chance to support local community volunteer fire departments (who receive very little funding) and assist us along the course. They often go the extra mile by building campfires and providing s’mores and other food for our runners.
- A gender-specific performance shirt and custom designed high quality medal.
- Olive Garden meal on Friday night. (We will be purchasing extra food in addition to the food Olive Garden generously donates to ensure there is enough for everyone to have a plate of pasta, salad and breadsticks!
- A finish line party with music, free drinks and an Outback Steakhouse meal (that’s right folks-two meals are included in your registration price! You will NOT find that with any other relay!)
- Portable toilets, water, and other snacks donated by our sponsors.
- Amazing team bonding experience where you walk away with stronger relationships and many new friendships with all the newOutback mates you met as you pushed through the pain of your sore legs and conquered our course!
Sound Fun? So here is how to get started by building your team. Remember good leadership and teamwork makes the magic happen!
Establish a Team Captain and Co-Captain
Outback Team Captains are strong, well organized leaders who are responsible for facilitating the fun for others! Captain duties include registering the team, assigning runners, picking a team name, booking vans and hotels and keeping the team informed and team logistics! The teams that have the most fun are usually the ones who have the best team captains. They plan get togethers before hand, make sure everyone is well-informed of the rules and logistics. They start building the team camaraderie well before race weekend!
The Outback Team Captain will register your team, and pay for the full amount upfront or can make a 50% deposit. The team can pay back the Captain their portion of the registration fee with PayPal, Venmo, checks or any other way that works for the team. Here are the types of teams you can sign up for:
- 12-Person: This is regular team made up of 12 members. Twelve runners will pile into two vans and run three times each. Start times typically begin at 5:30 a.m.- 12:00 p.m. depending on your team’s average overall 10k pace.
- 6 Person Ultra Team: This is an ultra team made up of 6 members who conquer the entire 200-ish mile course with half the amount of runners. Six members pile into one van and run 6 times each. Start times typically begin at 5:30 a.m.- 12:00 p.m. depending on your team’s pace.
- Connect-6: Starting during all Regular Registration periods, teams will be able to sign up as a Connect-6 Team. Fill your van with 6 members and we’ll pair you with a team of similar ability to form a 12-person team. Each Connect-6 team will have a Captain who is responsible for working with the other team Captain on logistics. Each person on a 6-pack team will run 3 times like they would on a 12 person team. Start times typically begin at 5:30 a.m.- 12:00 p.m. depending on your team’s pace.
After the team is registered, the Outback Team Captain can add members to the Outback Team Profile Page, and pick the team division to compete in. Here are some ideas for how to recruit your dream team:
- Look for runners but also active people. Someone new to running can be Outback ready in as little as three months.
- Reach out to co-workers, cousins, sisters, friends from your cross-fit gym or run club, and friends of friends. The best part about recruiting new people is that you will make new friends!
- Use social media!
- Have the Co-Captain be responsible for filling the second van. If you find 5 people and they find 5 people, you’ll have a full team.
- Check out the Facebook event pages. Many individuals are looking for teams to join and you can contact them directly.
- Look for runners through the “Find a Runner” option when you login to the Outback page.
- Sign up a Connect-6 team. We’ll pair your 6-person team with another 6 to form a full 12-person team. This option is available for regular registration.
Many Team Captains don’t have all 12 runners before they register a team.
Book Your Van and Hotel
The kind of vehicles that work best for the Outback Relay are 12-passenger vans, large SUV’s and Suburbans since most of our roads are dirt, gravel roads and some are very narrow.
Outback Relays are not your typical flat 5k, half-marathon or relay race. Here’s how to prepare for the best weekend of your life:
- Outback Training – Training should typically start 12 weeks before the race if you are an active person. The Outback course is tough! It has a “trail feel” with lots of gravel/dirt roads, some single track trails and some paved roads. It is through the Ozark mountains so there are lots of hills and mountains to climb! This is not a flat, fast 10k. You really need to train on a variety of road surfaces to be prepared. You also need to RUN those HILLS!
- This is an Endurance Relay! We added the word “Endurance” because this truly is one of the most mentally and physically challenging things you will do. We want you to go in with eyes wide open. Your physical and mental limits will be tested! The Outback course is one of the toughest in the nation, but also one of the most beautiful! Remember our mantra: “It’s not mountains we conquer, but ourselves.”
- Accountability:We recommend setting up a team Facebook page or google docs where you set goals and hold one another accountable. You can all post pics and workouts. It’s a great motivator!
- Van Decorations – Go big or go home! Christmas lights, funny team member photos, blow-up animals, custom paint jobs and funny quotes! We ask that you keep the communities we run through in mind. So that means nothing that will litter the ground or be offensive. Some teams also like to buy team magnets so they can tag other vans along the course.
- Costumes – If running as an 80’s rock star, Ozark Hillbilly or Kangaroo is your thing then you have arrived! We have several costume legs but feel free to wear your costume any time along the 205-mile course! We only ask that your costumes are not offensive and that you keep the communities we run through in mind.
- Safety – Each person is required to wear a safety vest during night time hours, and each van is required to have 2 headlamps or running flashlights and 2 blinking LED tail-lights.
Conquer the Outback for the first time and see for yourself what this crazy 200ish mile endurance relay is all about, or return to do it bigger, better or faster than the last time!
Outback in the Ozarks is NOT your typical road race. Below are some helpful tips adapted from an experienced relay runner, James Lee, on how to build a successful relay team before race day.
“Let’s face it, there are lots of fun running events out there, but where else do you take an individual sport like running and turn it into a day and night (and day) super team adventure and make new best friends along the way?
This is where you learn that you DO belong on a team of superheroes. Let’s do this ! Obviously first you need to fill your team (Batman needs Robin, after all). But then what? It’s a rare Relay team where everyone knows each other before the relay. You’re going to be a running family after the race, but how about we go ahead and jump start that process! When your team connects early, they begin to rely on each other, and they become committed to the group’s objectives. Here are some ideas on how to transition from 12 to team:
- Meet for lunch. Have everyone bring a sack lunch and you get to present some vital information (pick a topic… how to train, what to pack, whatever). Once you’ve gotten everyone together, conduct an ice breaker and get people talking to each other.
- Get social: Start a group page on your favorite social media platform. Every week or two, share something interesting online to get the conversation rolling.
- Train together. Once or twice a month, meet up and get some miles as a team. Even if your team has a wide variety in their pacing, you can make this work. My last team was a “work” team, and we ran (and walked) hill repeats outside our office on Fridays at lunch. Anything that has people lacing their kicks will work. Outback in the Ozarks hosts free trail runs each month. It’s a great way to meet new people and build team relationships.
- Get Technical. There are apps that allow you to share your training with your friends. It’s great motivation to know that your team members are logging their miles. Garmin Connect, RunKeeper, and Strava are just a few of the options out there.
- Plan together. Closer to race day, it’s time to lock in the details. If you can’t meet physically, set up a Google Hangout and talk through some vital details. Who’s going to bring the GPS? Who’s in charge of bringing the peanut butter and chocolate riced krispie treats? Does anyone have an extra headlamp or safety vest to bring? They’ve done the training, now lock ‘em in on the logistics.
- My last tip? Be the captain of your team. If you’ve planned ahead, and you’re three or four months out from your next Ragnar, this is where you can get into a rhythm of touching base with your runners on a regular basis. Try to have a personal conversation with two or three of your runners every week… that’s a small enough commitment to be able to stick to it, and large enough to have a real impact on your team mates.