We’re coming to that time of year when the race calendar starts to thin out in many parts of the country. There are a lot of people with plenty of acquired fitness looking for a place to apply it. Which reminds me of some of the more creative athletic endeavours I’ve come across over the years…
Portland Urban Iditarod
The real Iditarod – the 1868km dog sled race through Alaska – has long been the subject of scorn from animal rights groups. How would you like to be leashed together with a bunch of equally stinky creatures and forced to run around in the dead of winter? Well, the good people of Portland, Oregon – home to more breweries than any other US city – seem inclined to find out. Each March, on the same day as the Alaska event, they tether themselves to “sleds” (mostly shopping carts) and take off on a four mile course through the city’s downtown.
(I think my favourites are the boxers at 1:01)
Pump And Run
These are hybrid events combining barbell bench press and 5K footraces. For every repetition you can lift (gender/age categories determine what percentage of your bodyweight you must lift) a certain number of seconds are deducted from your subsequent 5K time. It’s a pretty cool test of both anaerobic power and aerobic endurance. There used to be a Pump and Run race in Ancaster, Ontario, but it seems now that Ohio is ground zero for these events.
Wife Carrying – or “Eukonkato” as the Finnish call it or “Most Saturday Nights” as I call it – is an event in which a man carries his special lady through an obstacle course to win her weight in beer. Several styles have been popularized, from the conventional piggyback or Fireman’s Carry to the highly specialized Estonian Carry.
As you watch, try to remember that the British actually dominated the world economically and culturally for centuries. Now they do this.
UK Tough Guy
Full respect for any race that sells you disability insurance before the event.
(I love the guys who list “being from Germany” as their vocation.)