Sunday, March 8, 2009

Spring Backward!

Several days ago, I stepped outside in my typical winter running fashion: 3 long-sleeved top layers and a pair of shorts over Under Armor leggings. But something didn't feel right. Once my Garmin finished locating satellites and I set off on the trail, I realized I was incredibly over-dressed as I began to swelter beneath the numerous layers I had grown accustomed to toting. After I finished my run in temperatures that seemed to mimic a heat wave, I hopped into the car and read a whopping "60 degrees F" on the thermometer!

The transition from winter to spring is usually strange and unpredictable. Just last night, people nationwide set their clocks an hour forward for Daylight Savings Time, a precursor to spring. This morning, however, I woke up to a mixture of sleet and snow pattering at my window. Therefore, in the spirit of spring and the many oddities it brings, it seems an apt time to discuss the world's strangest races.

You've probably run a 5 or 10k before, and if you're a hardy soul, maybe even a marathon. Perhaps you saw some other runners dressed up in goofy costumes and thought it to be an odd experience. But you don't know the true meaning of "strange" until you compete in one of the following races.

Krispy Kreme Challenge

Many people seem to love Krispy Kreme donuts. But see how much they like them after running 2 miles to the local Krispy Kreme, eating 12 donuts, and running another 2 miles back to the start, all while struggling to not toss their "donuts" in less than an hour. This is a race that, as director Peyton Hassinger notes, attracts many types, whether it be "hungover college kids" or "moms with strollers."

Why do something so silly and nausea-inducing? The profits go to the North Carolina Children's Hospital, so it's for a good cause. It's popularity has sky-rocketed, as the number of race participants has grown from 12 in 2004 to 3,000 in 2008.

Fun Fact: The boxes used for the challenge, when stacked, would erect a "building" of cardboard over 16 stories tall.
World Naked Bike Ride

Biking is a great way to cross-train! So how about your birthday suit? Racers can show off their stars and stripes by biking naked through the capital of the United States in this race, which promotes alternative transportation and discourages everyone's dependence on oil. Patriotism at it's best, I say!

Unofficial Motto: "Less gas, more ass!"

High Heel Drag Race

While you're biking around D.C. indecently, you can head on over to the High Heel Drag Race, where you will witness more than 100 drag queens decked out with crazy hair, costumes, and attitudes. The race spans two blocks where participants walk, run, or sashay to the finish in stilettos or go-go-boots. The prize for this grueling feat? A silver slipper trophy.

Fun Fact: Admission is free!

The Cheddarhead

On New Year's Day, in Atlanta, Georgia, 200+ runners line up to compete in a race that is quite "multi-sport." The Atlanta Hash House Harriers have devised a race "course" in which one must down several beers, run several miles, bowl several frames, and finish with a large-scale polka dance party. If you're into drinking, running, hitting the bowling alley, and dancing, this race just might be for you! However, I'd only recommend entering if you're an extremely fast runner, as this event has attracted the attention of the Atlanta police on several occasions.

Fun Fact: The
Hash House Harriers claims itself to be "the world's most eccentric running club." The Atlanta Hash House Harriers is just one of many of 1,879 hash groups in 1,223 cities in 183 countries. They even have a "Hash Bible."

Geezer Pleezer

The purpose of this somewhat politically-incorrect race is to, essentially, chase down the elderly. It spans 4 miles, a distance over which participants aim to chase down everyone that's older than them. Of course, this wouldn't be fair if they all started at the same time, now would it? Instead, racers are staggered according to age. Head-starts are given in proportion to one's age, so the older you are, the larger head-start you receive. Regardless of age or gender, first one across the finish line wins. I find it rather ironic that such an age-segregated race would end with such an egalitarian finish, don't you?

Fun Fact: The top 10 finishers get chocolate.
Another Fun Fact: The 2009 winner was a 75-year-old male. As Tina Turner might comment, "What's age got to do, got to do with it?!"

Next time you're looking for a race, try an oddball. Instead of springing forward with the rest of the mainstream spring races, try springing backward to stand out from the pack. Who knows, you might be amazed how much "fun" it is trying to hold down a dozen donuts.


  1. Is the naked bike race legal?!?!?

    I can't wait until I'm doing Bay to Breakers in costume - it has to be one of the more unusual large scale races in the country.

  2. Hey! Thanks for stopping by my blog recently. I'm just getting caught up on yours.

    I hear you on the winter/spring transition. I never know what to wear!

    I've been known to do some crazy things, but those races are just plain insane! Spectating might be fun. ;)

  3. God bless google. What did people do before we had all this information at our fingertips? :o)