Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Rick eats hot dogs and drinks beer--WHILE RACING!

NETT's "roaving reporter" of sorts Rick Cleary took part in the annual Big Man Run this year, the unofficial Clydesdale Championships in Somerville. Here's his report:

Saturday I ran the “Big Man Run” for the second time, the five mile race (I get 5.25 when I map it) for runners 190 pounds and up. A few skinny guys who respond early get in too, but aren’t eligible for prizes. It pretty much does a perimeter of Somerville with stops at a number of bars (there were four in 2006, just three this time) where competitors must eat a hot dog (with roll) and drink an eight ounce draft beer before continuing. It’s really just the ticket for me, combining running and gluttony, my twin passions.

I finished 12th for the second year in a row, but I think this year’s was a better performance for several reasons:

-The more bars, the better for me. I pick up a lot of ground in the eating/drinking portion of the event. So to finish in the same place with more running and less consuming was a good effort.

-I did it almost four minutes faster (40:26 vs. 44:05) and there’s no way one extra bar would have cost me 3.5 minutes, I was in and out of the others in less than two minutes each.

-I weighed in at 196, still safely above the cutoff but well under the 202 I registered last time; perhaps a sign that I’m getting in some sort of shape. (The organizers are kind, you weigh in with your running shoes and race outfit on … one guy weighed in at 188 and they let him go chug a couple of pints and try again and he made it the second time.)

-Last year I went alone but this year the family came along. This was mostly a plus as I enjoy the support, and they enjoyed the spectacle of 250 fat guys trying to run through Somerville, and Eddie had some great in-race commentary. (“Mom, when I grow up I could do this race because I’m a boy but I don’t think I will because I don’t like beer.”) It does start in a rather dicey neighborhood, but they found a nice school playground to use while I was running. The only drawback was that having Ann and the kids there made me realize how genuinely terrible the post-race food was. (A buffet of more hot dogs, greasy burgers and little deli sandwiches). The year before I’d consumed some happily without thinking that it might be awful.

Only downsides:

-I did not win my age group this time, after a 13 minute win in the 50 and over last year. This time there was a 51 year old from Houston, Texas in front of me but the way the results are split up I can’t tell his weight … maybe he was a skinny? In any event I can claim to be the fastest fat old glutton on the East Coast.

-I still miss the fourth bar, three just doesn’t seem as hard somehow. I had a great post-race conversation with another guy that went like this:

Me: “Too bad there were only three bars this year.”
Other guy: “Yeah, I was pacing myself thinking we had to stop once more, I would’ve kicked it in sooner.”
Me: “I’m not talking about strategy, I just wanted another beer.”

-It didn’t bother me, but apparently the first bar wound up with a long line for the food. It’s over a mile from the start, and up a huge hill, so I would have thought that the crowd was spread out enough to handle 250 runners … but I guess that is a lot of people to serve in a short time!

Here’s hoping that next year I have to drink a lot in the car to make the weight limit on race day! Full results POSTED HERE

Next up for me: Marathon in Newport, RI on 10/20 to try to qualify for Boston.

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