The Bad Idea That Keeps Getting Worse

A Bad Idea . . .
A Bad Idea . . .

In the grand scheme of things, running a mile-plus lap along along the Providence River doesn’t seem very daunting to either the ultramarathoner or those taking their first Couch 2 5K steps. Follow that by immediately chugging a beer and downing a hot dog? Hmmm . . . that sounds like a bad idea.

But what if I said it was for charity?

The Grog & Dog Jog

The Grog
The Grog

And that’s exactly what happens every Columbus Day weekend. On this Sunday 12 October, one hundred teams of four runners shall convene in the parking lot of the Wild Colonial Tavern (aka my second home) for the annual Grog and Dog Jog, one of the bar’s fundraisers for the Rhode Island Community Food Bank. Each teammate runs, walks, and sometimes hobbles a 1.25 mile course down South Water Street, over the Point Street Bridge, through the Jewelry District and back to the WC, followed by consuming a pint of Narragansett Lager and a Saugy hot dog (alt bev and dogs are available), before handing off their baton to their team member.

The Dog
The Dog

The Grog is inspired by the Big Man Run, a race that now takes place in Worcester. In that race, runners complete a five-mile course, hitting three bars, and consuming three hot dogs and three beer. The kicker is that the participants had to be male and weigh over 185 pounds.

Brien Lang, Wild Colonial Director of Silly Sports
Brien Lang, Wild Colonial Director of Silly Sports

“We were looking for a fundraising event for the Rhode Island Community Food Bank that would be more inclusive and team oriented, and in which members of the Wild Colonial’s Running Club could participate,” said Brien Lang, leader of the Rhode Island Ukelele Armada and the WC’s Director of Silly Sports. “Thus, ‘the bad idea that keeps getting worse’ was born.”

As one of those Only in Lil Rhody thoughts that cross my mind, the thought of 500+ people in one small location could tip the state over at any moment. I have volunteered at The Grog over the past few years as one of the “Officiandos,” sorting bags, monitoring the chute (as in making sure each runner has finished their Gansett and Saugy), and checking teams in as they arrive. Looking up from the list of teams, I’m greeted by runners decked out in technical shirts and those Vibram toe finger running shoes (that equally terrify and intrigue me). More likely than not, I find myself surrounded by:

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The starting line of the Grog & Dog Jog

After our favorite trumpeter (and all-around awesome guy), Ritchee Price, plays the national anthem and sounds the start of the race, it’s now a shitshow on parade.

Everyone running, walking, and pushing their asses around the course, huffing their way back to the parking lot, and finishing their suds and dogs in the Consumption Garden (some Kobayashi style). Many feel that thrill of victory after completing their course; we have seen no agonies of defeat (recently).

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photo by Scott Mason
photo by Scott Mason

What’s Lang’s best advice about the worst race to newbies?

“Remember there are three components to the Grog, it’s no coincidence that the beer and hot dog are called ‘The Great Equalizer.’ I have seen countless newbies finish their lap in a mad sprint only to spend minutes gasping for breath as they try to get their beer and dog down. Pace yourself people!”

By the numbers:

  • 11th running in 7 years
  • 100 teams of 4 runners
  • 1.25 miles approximately run by each around the Providence River
  • 30+ volunteers from the Wild Colonial, local universities, and companies
  • 400 pints of Narragansett Lager & ginger ale
  • 400 Saugies and veggie dogs (plus a few snarfed up during taste-testing by the staff)
  • 31:18.9 fastest race time (includes downing the ‘Gansetts & Saugys) by the Tuesday Night Turtles
  • 0 reversals of fortune in the Consumption Garden
  • Over $4,000 raised in 2013 for the Rhode Island Community Food Bank

The deets:

  • WHAT: The Grog & Dog Jog
  • WHERE: Wild Colonial Tavern, 250 South Water Street, PVD
  • WHEN: Sunday 12 October 2014 (check-in at 2.00pm, race begins at 4.00pm)

Team registration is open until Friday 10 October (please contact the Wild Colonial for details). Family-friendly, everyone is encouraged to c’mon down to cheer and heckle friends running before, during, and after the race. Oh, and have a few beers in the bar!

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