Dear Kid,

(Don’t tune out—you’re actually going to like this after the first paragraph or so.)

Once upon a time, there was a Viking King named Ragnar. Like most Vikings of Legend, he was the scourge of France and England, the father of many sons who weren’t all exactly devoted to him, went around killing giant serpents, and had a big beard. He probably raped a few people too, but no one talks about that. And since he’s been dead a really long time, he is seen as “a conqueror, a wild man, a leader, fearless, and free-spirited.”

Which is why the founders of Ragnar chose to name their crazy races after him.

Ragnar is a team relay race (12 members per team) over about 200 miles. Yes, you read that right. Each runner runs three times (legs are between 3 and 8 miles of varying difficulty). The rest of the team hops into vans, drives to an exchange point or cheering point, pretends to sleep, and waits for their turn to run.

Just to be clear there is no sailing, warring, or serpent killing during the race. Beards are optional, costumes are encouraged.

Ragnar races are run in a bunch of cities, none of which are Cincinnati, so you don’t have to worry that I’ll enter.

You can stop laughing now.

Love, Mom