What’s the wackiest event held in your home town?
Where I live, it would be a near three-way tie among the Kensington Labor Day Parade and Festival, the Fourth of July Bike Parade and the Burrito Mile relay, with the Burrito in the lead.
My son ran the Burrito Half-Mile relay in high school. I had forgotten about it until yesterday, when our community paper ran a front-page story about this year’s race. It’s good to know it’s still alive as a fundraiser for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society, and funny that I should see the story after returning from dinner at Chipotle.
Being a contestant in the Burrito relay—or a spectator for that matter—isn’t for the faint of heart. Or the weak of stomach.
We all know that, in a typical relay race, the first runner takes a baton and runs around the track the required number of times, then hands the baton to the second runner, who runs and hands it off to the third runner and so on, until the fourth runner, or anchor, crosses the finish line.
My son ran track all four years of high school, so relays were a way of life for him, his friends and us. We never missed a meet. It stood to reason, then, that we’d take our place in the stands at the first Burrito relay held at Walter Johnson, our son’s high school and the first to host the fundraiser. WJ no longer officially supports the race for health reasons; I’ll get to that in a minute.
Here’s how it works. Each player brings a one-pound Chipotle or Qdoba burrito to the race, to serve as his or her baton.
When the gun goes off, each team’s starting runner first eats his burrito and then runs the first leg of the race, carrying the burrito of his teammate in position #2, which he hands off to #2 after running his one- or half-mile leg. Runner #2 scarfs his burrito, and runs his leg, carrying #3’s burrito and so on.
As with a conventional relay race, the fastest team wins. In the Burrito, eating speed is as important as running speed. Vomiting ensues—at the finish line, during the race and, potentially, in the stands.
Considering the prevalence of eating disorders among teens, one might see why a high school principal wouldn’t touch this with a ten-foot pole, or a baton, or a one-pound burrito.
Following the event last Saturday, The Gazette noted that the record-holder, Greg Wegner, ran the whole 4-by-800-meter relay by himself last year. “At the time, he set the record when he ate four burritos over the course of a two-mile run and finished in 51 minutes and 10 seconds.” It further states that Wegner survived a ruptured brain aneurysm and stroke at the age of three. I suppose any challenge after that would be a minor hurdle.
I ask again, what wacky–and newsworthy–events go on in your community?