Pat Sullivan – VP, Army Programs
“12 friends, 2 vans, 2 days, 1 night, 200 mile relay…unforgettable stories.” Ragnar
ProModel continues to demonstrate a commitment to building teams. Over the past several days (25-27 Oct), Team ProModel grew as friends and athletes in one of America’s most grueling endurance races. The Chattanooga to Nashville Ragnar Relay undoubtedly demanded an often extraordinary level of dedication and sacrifice. That dedication was played out during the race, but initiated and nurtured during the miles of running our team did in the months leading to the race…well, I must stop here to introduce the entire team, as some members considered their training was an unnecessary crutch.
Team ProModel preparing to leave Huntsville
The twelve person team consisted of team captain Tim Shelton, (ProModel Sr Army Program Manager), Pat Sullivan (ProModel VP for Army Programs), Brian Brown, Susan Whitehead, Jennifer Harbaugh, Ryan Harbaugh, Robert Brown, Sheri Shamwell, Barry Crocker, Cori Wilkerson, Wes Wilkerson, and Eric DeBolt (the ringer). And the team could not have run one step had it not been for the commitment of Keith Vadas and Carl Napoletano…and the incredible effort of Christine Bunker (ProModel marketing) and our awesome drivers and support crew (Jim Craft and Kelly Parker).
So, back to the memories… our race day started when we met at our link up point in Huntsville and received our great running gear before loading up our well apportioned vans…the ones we called home for the next several days. Thanks to our sponsors we had everything one would need…except maybe for a personal masseuse and about three more weeks of training.
Eric “The Lightning” Debolt takes off from the first major exchange point
Once on the starting line, in great ProModel fashion, our #1 runner (Robert Brown- a late arrival to the team) voiced the first of what would be many quotable moments. After the race director, announced that “this start represented the culmination of all the months of hard work and training in preparation for Ragnar,” Robert, turned to the team and said “hey, you didn’t say anything about months of training!”
And then the gun went off…at a beautiful waterfront setting on the Tennessee River in Chattanooga, the team was off on our journey. The plan was set and optimized. Each runner was scheduled for three legs during the estimated 34 hours to complete the race. We planned for each of our 12 runners to complete 16-19 miles each. And we delivered…the team completed the Ragnar in under 31 hours!
Jennifer Harbaugh pushes through her last leg through the beautiful horse farms just out side Nashville
As the sun dropped, the miles faded and the temperature plunged. Now, some of you may think that running in 25 degrees in the middle of the night is not that cold. But for a bunch from the south, it was painful. Couple that with little to no sleep over two days…and the mettle testing of endurance racing was on!
After a cold night, with most pushing through on less than 2 hours sleep, each leg became more punishing… and as the sun rose, Team ProModel made it through the mountains, and into the rolling hills of Tennessee. With the frost on the ground, the beautiful country side made for a memorable sight as the team passed the 100 mile mark.
Here are a few quotes and observations from the team:
Tim Shelton & Ryan Harbaugh exchange early morning
“We are two legs up…” Tim Shelton called in after conferring with the Race Director on our current progress.
“I’m JUST a stay at home Mom…” An attractive young lady shared with Wes just before their leg. Once the hand off occurred, she dropped him like a bad habit on her way to averaging 7:15 minute miles.
Eric “the lighting” DeBolt…delivered as promised by turning continual 6:00 minute miles…and then got up early on Sunday to run an “easy” 15 miles at 7:00 minute mile pace.
Jim Craft van driver/team manager/time keeper/ sleepless companion…was often heard mumbling through the night, “this is like herding cats.”
Pat Sullivan runs through downtown Nashville towards finish line
Pat Sullivan often lost focus…”squirrel!” What was I saying?
“Just one mile of suck left…” a common quote Wes shared at each “one-mile to go” marker.
“Where’s the van…Where’s that “one-mile-to-go-marker.” Almost everyone racing… J
“Time to get up” says Jim to Barry…”but I never went to sleep.” Replies Barry.
“You are not my favorite person…” Rob says to one of his teammates while seven people tried to get some sleep in a van.
I wrote this somewhat generically…it’s hard to fit in all the stories and express the depth of our appreciation for having the opportunity to represent ProModel. Thanks again for the great support and allowing us to represent ProModel…know you would have been proud.
Cori Wilkerson runs through the Tennessee hill country
Robert Brown “hey, you didn’t say anything about months of training?!”
Susan Whitehead pushes up hill as Team ProModel makes its way through the Tennessee mountains!