Hold on to your Hollisters, all you non-competitive millennials, because this jaded individualist Gen-Xer has a race that is going to put all your cooperative games and your untimed Color Runs and Tough Mudders and Ditka Dashes and Krispy Kreme Crawls to shame. This race is going to blow. your. ability to use single-word sentence fragments as a literary device. And then, it will blow your mind.
Presenting the race that will Make America Great Again, Make Your Self-Image Held In Check Again, and Make You Competitive Again. You will want to win this race so badly, that it will make winning more important to you even than capturing the perfect selfie of yourself winning. Presenting the Race of the Future. And it’s about to become the race of the present. This ain’t no Dippin’ Dots, forever looking forward to its potential but never taking its place atop the mountain. This is the race that shall take over the world.
This is the Pokemon GO 5k.
A melding of the non-competitive running boom and the most successful piece of technology at dragging youngsters outside since Wham-O invented the Slip n’ Slide, the Pokemon GO 5k is a night-time 5k race with a twist. Its field will be capped at 54,000 runners, but will be popular enough that a lottery will be necessary. Entry fee will be $392. So, what’s the twist, you ask? The twist is Pokemon GO! All runners in this 5k will have a special edition of the Pokemon GO game installed on their smartphones, which they will take with them on the course. What’s that Mr. 5-minute miler? Think you’ll simply ignore the Pokemon aspect and coast to victory? Not so fast (see what I did there?)! For each Pokemon you catch with your phone along the course, 10 seconds will be deducted from your finishing time. So, all you 11-minute milers who might be able to crack the 30-minute mark in a 5k someday, this is your time to shine! If you catch 30 Pokemon, those 30 minutes become 25! You can set a PR (personal record) and a PR (Pokemon record) on the same day!
So much strategy, so many ways to approach your race. Do you seek speed or seek Pokemon bonuses? How to balance these twin goals? Well, as if that weren’t enough, wait until you see that some of your fellow runners have come up with the ultimate strategy:
That’s right, the Selfie Stick.
Finally, this instrument of embarrassing narcissism can actually help you! See that other runner two strides ahead of you ready to capture that Pokemon? He thinks it’s his, until…. Swipe! Out of nowhere, the runner behind him usurps him with the diabolical use of a metallic arm. The Selfie Stick. Imagine the possibilities. You could snap a selfie of yourself in your ultimate moment of glory, swiping the Pokemon from the runner ahead of you, your face a beaming Jack-o-Lantern of exhausted, sweaty glee. His face will be a Jack-o-Lantern left out until November 19, covered in rain and mud and mold and untold darkness. You will go viral. The entire course will go viral.
Much of the course will wind up in the ER. Selfie Sticks will crash and clash in the darkness as the entire course of tens of thousands descends into an Android Store Lord of the Flies. Noses will break and septums will deviate as runners collide, seeking that elusive Pokemon to turn a 27:25 into a 27:15. You would think the runners will sue the pants off us, the race organizers, but aha! You would think wrong. Remember that disclaimer you signed before the race? Nobody ever reads the disclaimer. Well, buried within was some air-tight legalese. The Pokemon GO 5k is in no way responsible for any injuries incurred on the course, and by signing you acknowledge this is a dangerous activity. Much like a marathon, you will claim minutes after the race that you will never run another one of these. Yet next year, you will be back for more. Oh yes, they will all be back.
And if they break their noses again? Well, that’s what they get for running a 5k with their faces buried in their cell phones. What did they expect would happen? Darned millennials.