Regardless of what many people may imply, Ragnar is NOT a race, at least not for us. I'm fairly sure that we don't have much of a chance of winning the overall speed time and really shouldn't even be concerned about it. Yet, while we won't be in the race for the overall victory, it is common in Ragnar to be in a secondary race with other teams who are moving at or near our same pace. But even then, it is a long race and one that must be attacked with an understanding that there may be future opportunities to 'beat' someone later.
Everyone has a pace at which they enjoy their training runs. Then there is the pace they often race at. Race pace is usually significantly faster than training pace. And even when racing it often depends on the length of the race that determines your overall pace.
It boils down to this, if it's your first leg and it's a flat 4 miler, there's no need to go out at a 7 min/mile just so you can beat that pasty looking girl from Panguitch wearing the tea hat on her head. Trust me, you'll have other chances to knock that silly hat off her head later. Remember, you've got three legs to run. Ideally, I would suggest running your first leg the slowest, your second the fastest, then leave a little in the tank for your final leg.
As the person running the Ragnar leg you can be certain that I'm going to make sure I have enough energy left to run UP that entire hill while everyone else is walking. And trust me, that will be a sight as I cruise by in my tiny shorts and cape.
I've watched people in all kinds of races blow up early just to stagger across the finish line minutes or hours after their goal time because they couldn't hold back early in the race. Don't be tea hat girl. Instead, be the guy wearing shorty shorts and a cape. You'll be much happier and stronger as you cross the finish line. And you'll look better too.