Ragnar Relay: Adaptive runners take on 200-mile challenge

Linked by a common thread, the ultimate road race is the next challenge that lies ahead for a group of adaptive female runners from across the United States. The group came together this past weekend to take on the approximately 200 mile Ragnar relay race from St. Paul to Duluth.

"I'm so stoked about it. It's something I've wanted to do for a long time," said Amanda Munkeby, an adaptive runner from Northern Minnesota.

This Ragnar Relay team is unlike any other, as all six women are either physically or visually impaired. They've named their team "Call Me Athlete," a moniker that encapsulates their determination and spirit.

"I've done this before and I know how crazy it is, so the moment it was offered to me again I was like, yes, I'm still that insane; let's do it again," said Alison Lynch, an adaptive runner from New York City.

While the group was mostly strangers before doing the race, their camaraderie extends beyond their disabilities. 

"Even though how we have to adapt is different, we still have that bond of adaptation," added Munkeby.

The team's mission isn't just to highlight what adaptive athletes can do, but to challenge able-bodied individuals to see them as an athlete first. 

"We're doing this not just to put a highlight on what adaptive athletes can do but also just that we're a group of really strong women who put together this team and we're amazing no matter what," Lynch said.

The team was sponsored by amputee non-profit Wiggle Your Toes, along with the Ragnar race itself which waived all entry fees.

"I get goosebumps to think about how fortunate we are that we can take all these things and use them to inspire and encourage others to follow in our footsteps," said Ivonne Mosquera-Schmidt, a former Paralympian from Bloomington, Minnesota.

For these women, every race is another step in the mission of eliminating stigma—one stride at a time.

"We never want to be the token group. We want to put the fact that we are strong, able women first," concluded Lynch.