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Everlasting Joy 7-5
I'd rather watch eating than run
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I toy with the idea of participating in McMinnville’s annual Fun Run every year.
When I say “toy” with the idea, I’m referring to the cheap, Chinese kind that breaks after about two minutes of use. Two minutes is usually as long as I consider being in the Fun Run, although there have been years where I’ve actually set my alarm to wake up at 6:30 a.m., only to turn it off and go back to sleep.
Folks will sometimes ask me, “Why don’t you get in the Fun Run? I see you out running all the time.”
The short answer is you’ve never seen me out running at 7:30 a.m. That doesn’t happen. Ever.
And, for clarification purposes, I don’t think you can call what I do running. It’s a glorified walk more than anything. Perhaps a painful jog. It’s certainly not a run.
It’s more my speed on the Fourth of July to crawl out of bed in time for the now-famous Nathan’s Hot Dog Eating Contest. My philosophy is if it’s before noon, the most energy I’m willing to exert is what’s required to pick up a TV remote, not run three miles.
Competitive eating has transformed into a full-blown sport in recent years, complete with ESPN coverage. Joey Chestnut regained the hot dog crown last year when he wolfed down 70 hot dogs in just 10 minutes.
For those with calculators, that translates to one hot dog every 8.5 seconds. I wouldn’t want to choke down one hot dog in 8.5 seconds, let alone 70 in a row.
It was the ninth hot dog title for Chestnut, who was once a construction manager. Now his career is as a professional eater. You can quit your day job when contests like Nathan’s pay a first-place prize of $10,000.
Chestnut has shown he’s not a one-trick pony as he holds 43 eating records. He’s eaten 141 hard-boiled eggs in eight minutes and eaten 103 Krystal burgers at a contest in Chattanooga.
With Nathan’s Hot Dog Eating Contest drawing some 30,000 visitors to Coney Island in New York, it’s easy to see why cities are eager to develop their own competition. It can attract tourism dollars and translate to big bucks.
Competitive eating now has its own sanctioning body, Major League Eating. In addition to hot dogs, MLE sponsors eating contests for wings, tacos, bacon, ribs, baked beans, oysters, donuts, pepperoni rolls, cheese steak, Moon Pies, chili, and cannoli.
The way I see it, not everyone can hit a baseball with a bat. Not everyone can dunk like LeBron James.
But we can all eat. With competitive eating a growing sport, we can all be athletes.