Do you double or triple dip? No, not the kind involving chips that is socially taboo. I’m referring to running more than one race in a weekend. A lot of runners in the 50 States Club and Marathon Maniacs have been doing this for some time. You find two marathons geographically close and take care of two states with one trip. I’ve done this, e.g., Martian Marathon (MI) and Glass City (OH) one weekend, Breakers (RI) and Mystic (CN) on another, the Route 66 Marathon and the Oklahoma Marathon, both in Tulsa, because why not? With the help of some running friends and a plane ride, also managed Rocket City (AL) and Dallas White Rock (TX) one memorable December weekend .
Then there’s running a 5K the day before a marathon as a little shake-out run. I just did that in Green Bay last month, at the Cellcom Marathon. The 5K featured lots of kids representing their schools, and finished with the famous loop around Lambeau Field. This April in Boston, it was meaningful taking part in the Watertown Police “Finish Strong” 5K, a tribute to the community that was locked down while the search for the marathon bombers ensued for several days in 2013.
What really interests me are the organized running challenges. One of the oldest is the Gasparilla Distance Classic in Tampa. When I first ran this, we took on a 5K and 15K Saturday and a marathon Sunday. Now, the marathon’s been replaced with a half marathon and an 8K. That’s the Ultra Challenge; there are other combinations for those looking for a bit less mileage. I’ve run the newer version the past couple years; it’s a major event here on the Gulf Coast. Attracting families, casual and serious runners, the GDC feels as if you’re in a movie: Runners Rule Tampa! There’s a Pirate Theme, and extra bling to those undertaking any of the advertised race combinations, including a jacket and additional medal. Check it here: RunForTheBooty .
A new-to-me challenge is offered by the Flying Pig Marathon, in Cincinnati. Reminiscent of the earlier Gasparilla, the Pig offers the “Skyline 4-Way Challenge.” In addition to running the marathon on Sunday, you run a 5K and 10K on Saturday (the 3-Way is the half on Sunday, so you seem to get 2 of the “4-Way” with the marathon distance). For the greedy, there’s the “4-Way w/ Extra Cheese,” involving a Mile run on Friday evening. See for yourself: Pig 3 & 4 Way
Even though it’s over ten months away, I’m all registered. What can I say? In addition to loving running, I delight in cheese; I even ‘ran’ the cheese department for a gourmet food shop when working my way through grad school in Boston. Besides, it should be a culinary adventure. Skyline Chili is chili, cheese and onions served over spaghetti, I am told. My training plan so far is to delay tasting this unique dish until after completing the Challenge. After all, I have to earn it, don’t I?
While it may seem early to sign up for races in 2017, Challenges seem to have limited spots and may sell out long before race day. Be bold: double or triple dip. After all, it’s summer. Lots of time to train and anticipate the fun in your future.