A blast of a race
June 23, 2012
Last Thursday I ran in a fun race. I call it a race but that is probably not really accurate, it is more of an event I suppose. The Tempe Road Runner Sports hosts the Thursday Adventure Run every third Thursday of the month – rain or shine or hotter than hell heat. There is no course, just about a dozen checkpoints scattered around Tempe. You run to as many checkpoints as you can in an hour where you receive raffle tickets. At the end of the event, they raffling off a ton of prizes. Oh yea, there is also a beer tent that serves some award-winning Oregon craft brews from Deschutes Brewery. Sounds, fun, right?
Thursday was a nice 111 degrees here in Phoenix and by the 6:30 PM start it had cooled down to a comfortable 107. The girl working the check-in asked if we wanted wristbands for the beer garden. I said sure and then she promptly asked me for my ID which I left in my wallet in my truck. I laughed and said I was 45. She looked at all my grey and I am sure out of a sense of pity relented and gave me a wristband. There were several product demo tents including Asics who was offering a trial pair of shoes for anyone interested in running the event in some Asics. But you all know how I feel about my Asics 2060’s. They just can’t stay tied! Regardless, it still is pretty cool. Jeff met Carolyn and me in the parking lot as inconspicuous as ever in a bright yellow shirt with a killer bunny on it. We were expecting him to emerge from the bathroom as is our usual pre-run greeting from him, but he actually did a two-mile warm up. Literally.
The basic concept is that at 6:30 Road Runner Sports unveils the checkpoint locations and you can either write them down, follow the pack or if you have a handy-dandy smart phone, you receive an email that has them all plotted on a Google map. Then you chose which locations you want to run to and off you go. The farther a checkpoint is, the more raffle tickets you collect. You have an hour to hit as many of the checkpoints as possible, run back and turn in your raffle tickets. Promptly an hour later the raffle starts.
As promised at 6:30 the map of locations was presented and instructions were being issued. All of a sudden Jeff took off running. I shouted at his back, “aren’t you running with us” and all I heard was “nope” as off he went. Carolyn and I quickly figured out that we should just do as he did. We opened the email and went, deciding we would figure out the details as we went. So off we went. I was running, trying to load the map as my phone bounced up and down and all around with every stride.
Our first stop was 1.2 miles away at Big Surf Water Park. As we ran up McClintock, the sidewalk was littered with runners all making their way to the water park. It was at this point I realized this was really a free-for-all event as people were sprinting across the busy thoroughfare, crosswalks be damned. Carolyn and I arrived, received our four tickets each then made our way to one of the slides. Off went the shoes and socks and up we ascended to the top of the Tornado Twist and down we went SPLASH. We exited soaked. We quickly threw our socks and shoes back on and off we went running again. Dripping as we went. We laughed that it was a good thing Carolyn wore a dark shirt rather than a white one because this fun event would have quickly become a wet t-shirt contest had she been in white. Since we were wearing tech clothes and it was well over 100 degrees, we were completely dry within a few minutes.
We continued running to the various check points collecting more tickets as we went, including one stop that required doing hopscotch and leaping through a hoop. I learned that I am rather pathetic at hopscotch. By the end of the hour we covered five and a half miles and hit five check points. Of course, by the time we were making our way back to the store Carolyn had left me in the dust. The final mile was pretty brutal as I was something a little drier than parched. Jeff had covered just under seven miles, missing out on winning the greatest distance covered prize by .3 miles.
We turned in our tickets, drank a bunch of water and watched all sorts of other people win the myriad of prizes being given away. The lone bright spot was when I caught a t-shirt that was tossed to the crowd by reaching over a shorter guy standing in front of me snagging it over his head. We decided to enjoy a nice porter over at the beer garden and called it a night.Waiting to see if we won anything
Despite the brutal heat the event was a blast. It was really cool running an event that was geared around fun and not just balls to the walls running for time. I must admit, this is the might be the only race that I ever run in that has a Tornado Twist.