and 13 reasons why it’s the most fun you’ll have at a race all year!
1. The rules: A few days before the race, I was emailed the race guide with all of the critical race information: the where, the when, the whats. It also included my favorite race directive ever. It read: No whining or complaining. Grumpiness is illegal. The Baker’s Dozen is more of a fun run than a race. Fun is absolutely mandatory. Be sure to tell all the volunteers thanks for being so awesome. With rules like this, I knew it would be a memorable race.
2. The race director: When the legendary Cory Reese puts on a race, it is not to be missed. Especially when said race director dons a “Buddy the Elf” costume, complete with wig and yellow tights. Catching Cory in a costume isn’t that unusual, he famously wore a cat leotard during his Badwater race to celebrate the Kickstarter campaign for his amazing book, “Nowhere Near First.” There is even photographic evidence floating around Facebook of Cory at previous races dressed as Little Debbie. Cory’s energy and enthusiasm for the sport of distance running is so inspiring and infectious, it really is impossible to run this race and not love every minute.
3. The course: The race started and ended at Three Falls Park in Hurricane, Utah (pronounced her-i-kin). The course was just over a 3 mile loop, run four times total. Each time you completed a loop, you had to make a stop at the “Sugar Shack” and eat a “snack” which meant at least one bite of your chosen treat. A volunteer was there to watch you and mark on your bib that you ate the required amount. You needed to have 3 marks on your bib to earn your medal.
4. The awards: This was a fun run and true to form, the prizes were not for the fastest, they were instead for the best costume, the best jump caught on camera, and for the most sugar eaten. Two lucky persons (male and female) earned themselves the venerable title of “Sugar Slayer” for being able to eat the most. Rumor has it that the winning male had over 80 marks on his bib. A feat in and of itself, but profoundly more so when you remember he had to keep running. Yikes!
5. The pictures: The amazing photographer Alex Santiago was on hand to take FREE pictures along the course and a prize was given to the best jump caught on camera. We did our best.
6. The costumes: I saw more donut print leggings, of which I was enormously jealous, hats that looked like cupcakes, elves, reindeer, and even Santa Claus himself made an appearance. He was obviously enjoying a little R&R before the big day. But my favorite costume was a group effort and an homage to the Christmas classic “A Christmas Story.” I’m sure I wasn’t the only who wanted to shout, “You’ll shoot your eye out!”
7. The treats: Remember the “Sugar Shack” where you had to stop after each loop. The treats on the table were piled high and spread out like a Hostess buffet. There were so many sugary snacks, it was as if Willy Wonka and a sugar plum fairy had planned a Saturday brunch. I happily tossed out my clean-eating, plant-based, no-gluten commitment for thirteen wonderful miles.
8. The friends: I got to run one lap with Cookie Monster (my cute friend Crystal). I seriously could not get “C is for Cookie” out of my head until the race was over. And then because of the warmness of the day, my friend shed her sweatshirt for her second costume. She was a gingersnap cookie runner rocking her tank and panties. You can’t catch her! Crystal I love you!
9. The comments: There was a group of younger guys running behind us on the third loop. It was clear that they were deep in the fight for the title of “Sugar Slayer.” They were shuffling a bit and holding onto their sides (nothing like a dozen or so cookies to induce a wicked side ache). The last thing I heard one of them shout to another, who had made a quick beeline for a nearby field was, “Throw it up and keep running!” I’m not sure if that was an official DQ, but man those guys were committed.
8. The Grandma: I ran past a cute little grandma, who was totally in the zone. She had her headphones on and was singing loud and proud for everyone to hear, it was something about taking you down and making love. It’s probably more like makin’ love. No costume, no tacky Christmas sweater, but don’t let that sweet face fool you, grandma was in the groove. I get it, on race day, everyone needs their fill of Jason Derulo, it’s all about the beat.
10. The swag: I love hats, so I was thrilled to get a really cute trucker hat that I plan on putting a lot of miles on. Cory’s sweet wife Melanie let me have a gray one from the previous year. She understood, as knowing women do, that gray is a neutral color and it would go with more of my running outfits. In addition, race entrants also received a super cute pink mug which my 4 year old confiscated and has claimed as her special mug just for hot chocolate.
11. The medals: When your non-running friends gush over the awesomeness of your medal, you know it’s a good one!
12. The memories: Every race presents a new opportunity to create memories: running with Cookie Monster, the singing grandma who made me blush, Buddy the Elf, and my new favorite hat. It’s the “do it for the Insta” type of attitude that makes running fun and remember fun is the most important rule of this race, mandatory in fact. This is the kind of race that leads to stories that begin with “Remember when we ran the Baker’s Dozen last year…
13. Accolades from Runner’s World: Last and not even close to least, Runner’s World, the holy writ of all things running, has taken notice of this awesome race and will be featuring it in their 2017 Guide for Best Half Marathons in the Country. The country!!!
So don’t sleep in, don’t miss out, jump right in and have fun because these are the kind of memories that fill this running journey with joy. I hope I see you there next year! Happy running friends!
What’s the most fun race you’ve done this year?
Have you ever run a race in a costume?