Monday, September 08, 2008

The Rick Report: Big Man 2008

Our roaving reporter, Rick Cleary took to the streets of Somerville for the Big Man race again this year. For those not in the know, this weight-graded race involves running, drinking beer and eating hot dogs. Here's Rick's report:

My favorite event of the year, the Big Man Run in Somerville, was held Saturday 9/6 under hot and humid conditions, with slower finishers getting soaked by the first lashes of the hard rains of Hurricane Hanna. This was my third year in the event, which you'll recall is limited to men 190 pounds and over (and a few 'skinnies' who are friends of the organizer or don't make the weight or sneak in somehow...) The race starts at a bar, and along the slightly longer than 5 mile course (about 5.2 by my gmap measurement) it goes into three bars where competitors have to consume a hot dog (and bun) and a beer (about 12 ounces.)

Two years ago I won the 50 and over division by 13 minutes, but last year some ringer from Texas showed up and edged me out. Order was restored in the universe this time around as he stayed home minding the Longhorns, and I managed to run just over 43 minutes. I finished 12th overall ... three straight years I've been 12th ... although three of the 11 ahead of me were skinnies so I was ninth Clydesdale. I won the 50 and up by about 11 minutes, so I really should have enjoyed a second beer in the bars.

A few highlights of this year's event:

-The weigh in took longer than usual as they went from a cheap floor scale with a needle to real balance scale. They let you weigh in with shoes and shirt on, so I weighed in at 201. That big first digit always makes me feel a little slow but it's nice to be safely over, the guy behind me was just 186 and was hooted at by the crowd.

-The course starts with a huge climb, and you finish right where you start, but I don't know when we go downhill. It's another example of an Escher loop, one that seems up all the way to me.

-Conditions were miserably hot and humid with a misty rain at the start. The pavement was slippery and the long climb over the first mile or so was sort of suffocating. I started slow and got to the first bar at about 1.3 miles in about 20th place. I always pick up a few spots in the bars, and the next running section was short ... the second bar is only about 0.3 mles further ... so I had emerged into about 15th for the long run to the last bar. There I passed a lot of guys who were having trouble with that third beer or dog; but a couple of young bucks passed me during the run from there to the finish.

-Two years ago there were four bars; too bad we're down to three now as I know more eating and drinking works to my advantage.

-The post race music was a two man Irish band. I have a lot of Irish heritage but why anyone likes Irish music is a mystery to me. There only seems to be two songs, "Ol' Murphy died and we all went drinkin'" and "Colleen left me so let's all go drinkin'" (Actually four songs, there are fast and slow versions of each of those.) I waited around a long time in the steamy bar for the awards, since I saw that I'd won my age group, but finally I just couldn't wait any longer or hear one more chorus about Ol' Colleen Murphy and I got the organizer to hand me my championship mug and tee shirt. I think I won some money but I told him to use it to buy drinks for the volunteers; not that he could possibly have heard me above the over-amplified Irish crooning.

-Last year the family came along and enjoyed the spectacle; but they were wise to stay home this time. The post race choices of either being outside in driving rain or inside listening to the Irish crooners did not seem family freindly

Full results HERE... though it doesn't include weights so it's not too much fun yet.

No comments: