Yes, you read that right. The Great NY Hot Dog Challenge put on by the fabulous Rogue Runners was held on Saturday featuring 10 competitors with their eyes on the prize: over $200 in cash, and a sweet, SWEET medal.
The catch: Complete a 2.4 mile course throughout Manhattan, where 11 aid stations are in fact hot dog carts. Competitors must finish one hot dog (with whatever condiment of his/her choice) before proceeding to the next cart. No barfing allowed. Sounds simple enough, right?
Fun fact: Competitors reading this are most likely mentally slapping me in the face.
Competitors and refs gathered in Central Park where we went over the rules and regulations of the run. Initially, all runners were assigned a ref (I was paired with the elite Claire “Will Run for Beer OR Hot Dogs” Walsh), but we lost a few along the way, leaving refs to travel between competitors.
Another fun factor of this race? The weather. We awoke to wet snow flurries on Saturday morning, which had the potential to pick up and keep some of the carts at bay. The snow stopped shortly before the high noon start, and it did keep two carts from setting up. Luckily, we moved the start to a cart near by, so the number of hot dogs eaten was to be 10.
Much shit talking and bet placing was had prior to the start, with eyes on Matt, Claire, Bojana, and Neal as forces to be reckoned with. After cart #3, Matt was holding the lead, giving me a huge thumbs up as he passed me on Park Avenue where Cart #4 was supposed to be. It was here that people started to divide. Apparently the buns were a problem for quite a few people. Gillian ran by me and said, “I’m out. I can’t do this anymore. I’m glad I gave it a shot.” Indeed, Gil. You ate more hot dogs than I.
At Cart #5 (in Baker’s Pass on 5th Ave.), Claire and Bethaney were shaken up.
“These taste awful. I might top out at six,” Claire said as she was slowly but surely taking in the water dog.
“This bread is gross. I wish I could just eat the dog,” Bethaney exclaimed while burping and chugging water.
It was here that TJ found he was lost. Using instincts instead of a map will not win you this race, Mr. Ryals. There are too many dog carts throughout Midtown Manhattan. I pointed TJ in the direction of the gauntlet, and Gillian and I decided to see where all the competitors were at. The Gauntlet—two carts on one block in the hub of 6th Ave—had a couple of competitors.
Jim (Dad Posse) said, “Abbe. This sucks. I’m going to kill your boyfriend.”
I wished him luck and bid him adieu to see who was ahead. And as I did that, TJ caught up with Jim. Neal was at the next cart, unwillingly forcing down his dog.
“They just keep tasting worse…” And as I left, TJ caught up with Neal.
Bojana was at the next cart looking strong.
“I’m the female lead!,” she exclaimed. Correct, B! Keep on truckin. You are a force to be reckoned with with your eating packs of dogs on your way home from work (true story).
The last four carts were on a stretch through Times Square. Let it be known that it was now approaching 1:00pm, meaning if any of our competitors had to puke it would most likely be on a tourist. I bet they didn’t expect that when visiting New York.
Gillian and I kept on to see who was in the lead. It seemed to be a close race with Matt Six and Dave Tao. I later found out that Six had a 2:00-3:00 lead over Dave until he hit a cart being inspected by a member of the NYPD. Whoops. I guess that’s a factor we didn’t consider. The finish was close indeed, but it was Dave Tao who took the esteemed title of Winner at this year’s Hot Dog Challenge.
The finish (and after party) was held at Rudy’s, where patrons get free hot dogs for purchasing booze (hooray!).
Congrats to all finishers, and to those who DNF’d for competing in this mayhem. And special thanks to Miss Greenberg for being the official photographer of the race!
You are all heroes of America and challengers of encased meat.