The next time your guys whine about long miles on the trail, tell them about Troop 460 of the Las Vegas Area Council.
A group of Scouts from that troop recently participated in the Ragnar Relay Las Vegas, a grueling, 195-mile relay from Valley of Fire State Park to Red Rock Resort and Casino in Las Vegas.
Drawing on teamwork and perseverance, the group of 12 boys ages 12 to 18 completed the relay in 32 hours, 29 minutes, and 4 seconds—well under their goal of 34 hours.
Before you worry about the sanity of a group of Scouts willingly running that distance, know this: It was a relay. That means each team member ran three legs, each between three and eight miles.
Each team could use two support vehicles to transport team members who weren't racing that leg from one relay exchange point to the next.
There's much more to the story. Read the full tale of how the guys pulled off this impressive feat by checking out the story in their words. The Scouts of Troop 460 drafted an excellent press release that they sent to us.
Find the press release and some more photos after the jump. And thanks to Troop 460 Scoutmaster Jon Wayne Nielsen for bringing this story to our attention.
LAS VEGAS, NEV. — Troop 460 of the Las Vegas Area Council recently became heroes. After months of training, the Scouts, age 12-18, completed the two-day, 195-mile Ragnar Relay Las Vegas.
“Scouts ran 195 miles?! You’re kidding me.”
The astonishment was clear on the faces of the other racers, and enthusiasm for the Scouts was instantaneous.
One Scout commented, “Many racers wore costumes, so we looked like adults trying to be funny. But people were really impressed when they came close.” The other teams cheered and uplifted the Scouts. Many even took pictures with them. “They were rapidly becoming race celebrities,” said leader Adam Stout.
Sharing the course with 406 teams, the 12-Scout team loaded into two vans and started their adventure. Each runner completes three legs in a rotation similar to a batting lineup. When you were up, you ran. When you were down, you cheered, supported, or tried to get some sleep.
Ragnar provided a positive and safe atmosphere for a Scout to live up to the BSA legacy. The race is planned by a welcoming group of sleep-deprived adventurers. The relay format makes the distance possible for new athletes who can draw on a van full of constant support.
Most importantly, safety is number one. During the night, race organizers closed miles of unlit roads to traffic to protect the Scouts who ran wearing reflective vests, blinking lights, and a headlamp to light their way.
Despite the grueling challenges, leaders hoped for a positive experience and lifelong memories. Instead of being treated like kids, Scouts were challenged on the same playing field as adults. They loved it. They were not used to getting a reaction from adults, and, more importantly, they were empowered by their achievements.
One of the scouts, Carter, does not look like an athlete. Dressed in his uniform shirt, he ran from the starting line surrounded by slim runners in sleek running clothes. The hills rolled up and down at steep inclines, but he pumped his arms and kept his feet moving.
After four and a half miles, he approached a sign that read, “One Mile to Go!”
“It made me want to cry,” he said. “I had done so much. But then I knew I had to finish, so I kept running.”
Smiling ear to ear at the first exchange line, the large Scout slapped the baton onto the wrist of the next runner. Hundreds of people cheered loudly for him.
As the Scouts approached the finish line behind the final runner, 13-year-old Michael, a group of about 80 people sprinted to form a human tunnel for them. Race director Chris Thresher told us, “I have never seen a more exciting finish at one of our races.”
Other teams, exhausted from their own efforts, stood and cheered for the Scouts. Many teams shed tears of pride and joy. Only a day earlier they were too young to demand much attention, but after 195 miles, these boys had become something special.
They trained, they suffered, and there they stood, Boy Scouts, welcomed as the rightful colleagues that Scouts have always been on the trail and in the wilds.
Troop 460 is a Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints-sponsored Troop affiliated with the Boy Scouts of America through the Sunhawk District of the Las Vegas Area Council.