This was the first race EVER in which I stopped in the middle for a beer, burger and fries (at Jerry Remy’s Sports Bar).
But that was a mandatory component of the Boston Urban Iditarod, a 5K charity “dogsled” race in which a shopping cart is the city sled and people are the dogs. The wacky event last weekend was also part pub crawl, part talent show and part parade float/ costume contest. There were 102 teams and 600 runners — only one of whom was wearing a Manny Ramirez wig (my childhood friend Chris Hegarty). More than 6,000 pounds of canned goods were collected for the Boston Medical Center Food Pantry.
Our team theme was “Ghosts of Red Sox Past,” which involved a tribute to Red Sox players who were once heroes but later kicked out of town on their asses. A shopping bag ghost — looking like the Unknown Comic from The Gong Show — was our cart figurehead. Decorations also included Whiffle Bats, Whiffle Balls and a T-Ball glove zip-tied to the cart.
In the creativity department, we fell smack in the middle of the pack. Beneath us on the costume food chain were people who just slapped on Scooby Doo costumes from the party store and lots of generic pirates. More dedicated efforts included a UFO Roswell Alien gang, a Swan Lake ballet cart made from toilet paper, a group of exhibitionist gladiators wearing suits of armor made from newspaper (in 40 degree weather), and a funky papier mache dragon.
The Sox thing was an achievable theme at the last minute — and I thought, extremely relevant since the race began at Fenway Park. It was fun to yell “NO-MAH!” at my friend George’s Nomar Garciaparra jersey and to hear random motorists shout “YOOOUUUKKKKK!” at my Kevin Youkilis jersey, purchased at the last minute for a New Hampshire Magazine story about Red Sox fans.
My friend George had TWO Garciaparra jerseys lying around at home so he lent one to my brother Kevin and we had Nomar 1 and Nomar 2 battling it out for Iditarod glory.
Special thanks to the Whole Foods Market in Bedford, Mass., for lending our team a coveted shopping cart (race organizers don’t provide them) and donating a case of organic canned beans, bringing our team total to 70 pounds for the food bank. Also special thanks to the Lowell Spinners baseball team for loaning us their old Canaligator mascot head for the event.
I didn’t go crazy on the pub crawl component of the race, limiting myself to two beers. Much tougher to run on a beer-saturated stomach, although the younger guys in the race seemed to be unaffected.
For more colorful scenes from the Boston Urban Iditarod, check out this WBUR story on the race and my full photo gallery of the Sox Ghosts (with our competition) in action!