Your Silly Road Race 7:19.11

July 29th, 2011 in Articles by 0 Comments

The Faster Than Forty editorial team scours the nation for fun or funny road races we think you will enjoy. Rider University’s Paige McAtee presents this installment…

Runners around the country are going Hawaiian! The Pineapple Classic 5K – a charity race for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society – is a fun, Hawaiian-themed race complete with a variety of obstacles runners must negotiate on the course. And the race has one more unique twist: everyone must carry a pineapple throughout.

The Pineapple Classic first began in Seattle, WA seven years ago. Thousands of people come out each year to participate, and because of the great success in Seattle, the race has expanded to other locations, including Greenwich, CT, San Jose, CA, San Diego, CA, Portland, OR, western Pennsylvania and Dallas, TX.

The Portland race takes place on August 13th at Pat’s Acres Racing Complex. The Western Pennsylvania  race will occur on August 20th at the Greene County Fairgrounds. Both races will begin at 9:00 a.m.

So why should you run one of these silly road races? Well, you can raise money for the LLS, wear a silly costume (if you choose), and get your eat on: there’s a full-fledged luau after each race. All runners are automatically invited to the luau cookout, but guests are welcome to purchase luau-only tickets for $10.  Everyone can bring their towels, beach chairs, flip-flops, and grass skirts along with them to the beach and Hawaiian theme.

“At the luau, there will be food, Hawaiian dancers, music and entertainment,” said Tina Massari, race director for the western Pennsylvania race.

“Three-hundred people have already signed up,” said Portland race director Amelia Pitts. “We are anticipating 500-600 people on race day.” Western Pennsylvania race director Massari said she is expecting about 250 runners.

The purpose of the race is to fundraise for the LLS. Participants do not have to fundraise, but it is greatly urged because the event was originally made for this purpose.

“The event was created by a family who lost their son to a blood-cancer,” said Pitts. “The theme of the race is Hawaiian [because] the last memory the parents had with their son was a trip to Hawaii.

“About $10,000 has been fundraised so far,” said Pitts regarding the Oregon event. “The Pineapple Classic in Seattle has raised over $400,000 so far this year.”

On each course there are eight obstacles that every participant has to complete in order to finish the race. While they maneuver through the eight obstacles, it is very likely that the pineapple they are carrying may crash or break apart, so the participants have to make sure they finish with at least a piece of the pineapple in their hands. The type of obstacles in the race will not be revealed until race-day. “Some obstacles used in previous races were: tires to climb, cargo nets, an obstacle wall, and rings to hold on to,” said Massari.

Competitors can compete for a fast time, have fun, dress up in crazy costumes, and then relax at the post-race luau celebration. It is also a good idea for race participants to bring a change of clothes and shoes after the race since they will be reasonably dirty.

Pre-registration is different at each race location, but it is roughly $60 for an individual, $105 for a two-person team, and $185 for a four-person team. The teams can be either co-ed or single gender. There are no age groups because most of the teams are very mixed in ages, and the race is family friendly. Children eight years and older can participate.

Prizes are awarded to the top finishers in the male, female, and co-ed categories. Prizes will also be given to members in each category with the best “Aloha Spirit” (costume). Every finisher will receive a goodie bag with a bunch of treats as well as a t-shirt.

Anyone at any fitness level can sign up for the Pineapple Classic. Some teams run the entire course, and some walk. If a team wants to walk the course, they sign up under the category “Honu” which is Hawaiian for turtle. If a team wants to run, or run/walk they can sign up under “Wiki,” which is Hawaiian for fast. The teams that sign up under “Kekoa” are the teams that plan to be competitive and win the race. “Kekoa” means warrior.

Now that the Pineapple Classic is held at multiple locations throughout the United States, more people get to participate in this unique event. More participants and locations will help bring more awareness and donations to help fight and cure blood cancers.

Have a suggestion for the “Your Silly Road Race” column? Drop us a note here.

Paige McAtee is a sophomore journalism major at Rider University. She competes in cross country and distance events.


Author: FasterThanForty

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