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The Whopper Mile
Added: August 17 2002

Okay, I had something else planned for this Musing, but a event I witnessed on Thursday night has taken precedence. My life so boring, it's rare that anything from it is worth talking about, so I'm happy to take the opportunity when it comes.

I don't know if I've mentioned it before, but I play Ultimate Frisbee during a large part of the year. I occasionally play on a B-level club team, but I usually just play in a local rec league.

I'm not entirely sure how it all started, but a few weeks ago, a few people started talking smack on the rec league's bulletin board. Someone brought up this thing called the "Whopper Mile", and someone was dared to do it. Unsurprising for this league, the challenge was accepted, the gauntlet was picked up, and the event was put in motion.

I'd never heard of it before, but, apparently, there are "official" rules for the Whopper Mile. Basically, the race goes like this: contestants eat a Whopper, then run a quarter mile. Repeat three more times until contestant has eaten four Whoppers and run a mile. Whoppers must be loaded (including mayo) and anyone who yaks is out of the race.

Sounds easy on paper, right? Maybe not. Essentially, that's approximately 2500 calories of food, containing 150 grams of fat.

Six contestants accepted the challenge, which was set to take place in the late evening following the final regular season game of summer league.

It ended up being a pretty big draw. Some people came to root on their friends and teammates, others came for the curiosity. And I'd wager some secretly came just to see if anyone would end up at the hospital, like NASCAR fans anticipating the big wreck.

As the festivities began, some of us started wondering if God was trying to tell us something. During the final game of frisbee, the skies opened up and it started to pour. Some very bright lightning followed, ending the game with a score of 6-5, not even half-finished. Some people started to wonder aloud if the main event should be postponed a few days. By and large, though, the bulk of the eighty to a hundred spectators who were on hand seemed more than happy to brave a lightning strike or two. (Plus, the Whoppers were already purchased, and I believe Burger King has a policy against returns.)

So, with a nice steady rain on hand, the event began.

Most of the contestants plowed through their first Whopper without much difficulty. First quarter-mile, no problem. Ahh, but as they say in distance- running, you don't win the race in the first lap.

One contestant clearly had the upper-hand from the very beginning. Having apparently viewed one of those Hot-Dog-Eating competitions on ESPN, he brought a little metal bowl, which he filled half-way with water. He then dipped the Whoppers in the water, which made them easier to chew and easier to swallow. Shrewd move, even if some of us felt he should have to drink the slough in the bowl before running his last quarter-mile. (Apparently, he did scoop out the debris and ate it with his last Whopper, leaving only milky-white mayo-laden water behind.)

As round two began, it was clear that things were slowing down. The second Whopper took an eternity compared to the first, and was a sign of what the real challenge was all about.

At the beginning of Whopper four, the bowl-wielding contestant (from here on designated Contestant One) had what seemed like an insurmountable minute-plus lead. However, he munched number four much more slowly than the previous three, giving the contestant in second place a shot at the lead. With half of Whopper four in the stomach, it was suddenly a tight race, with Contestant Two appearing to take the lead.

But, as some spectators noticed, three-and-a-half Whoppers is apparently the breaking point. With half a sandwich in his hand, Contestant Two slowed down significantly, and, after a few minutes, made his way to the nearest trash can and accepted defeat. The race was all but over.

The first contestant to finish the Mile, however, was the lone female contestant. Participants in the Women's Division were allowed to eat Whopper Juniors rather than the real deal (approximtely 1000 fewer calories and 60 fewer grams of fat), and the lighter load gave her the advantage. She finished her Whopper Mile at 16:57, and proclaimed later that she would be up to the challenge of the real deal at a future race.

About two minutes later, Contestant One began his final lap. In an attempt to impress those in attendance, and probably to make his win look "easy", he started the lap in a full sprint. However, about a third of the way in, the weight of the Whoppers took hold, and he slowed to modest jog. He lumbered across the finish line with a time of 20:56.

The other four contestants continued with the challenge, refusing to give up simply because the race had a winner. Contestant Three, with clearly the smallest frame of the male contestants, finished his fourth Whopper and completed the race during the 26th minute of competition. Some spectators later judged that his finish was the first "real" finish, granted that he used no metal bowls: he ate four fully-loaded Whoppers straight-up and ran the mile. And, according to the unofficial records of the event, his time would stand as the new world record.

Contestant Four, who finished not long afterward, accidentally brought mayo- less Whoppers to the event. In order to satisfy the judges, he had to do something a little extra. It was decided that upon completion of his last lap, he should belly-flop and slide to the finish. He fulfilled this duty accordingly, to the delight of those in attendance. (Oddly enough, it was my idea, shouted out as a joke, and I couldn't believe he actually did it.) The rain- soaked fields finally served a purpose.

The final contestant was still in the middle of his fourth Whopper when Contestant Five crossed the finish, and the look on Six's face wasn't good. The spectators on hand quietly whispered their doubts. Amazingly, he plodded slowly through and completed Whopper Four. And, by his own decision, he belly-flopped the finish, again to the delight of the crowd.

Since the league picked up part of the tab for the Whoppers, a few on hand declared this the finest event ever sponsored by the league. (Who really cares about frisbee when you've got Whoppers?)

In the end, everyone survived, and with those on hand raving about the event, the door was opened to the Second Annual Whopper Mile. (One spectator even suggested a short-track version of the mile, consisting of sixteen Krystals.)

I've left out a few of the more "juicy" details, like one opportunistic dog snacking on Contestant Two's "defeat", but I wouldn't want to gross any of you out.

Quote of the evening, uttered by Contestant Two while suffering through Whopper Four: "In this race, there are no winners."

What's that? Would I ever participate in the Whopper Mile?

Are you kidding? I don't know that could finish two Whoppers, much less four. I'm leaving this action to the pros!

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