I don’t run, but with the word “fun” in front of it, it didn’t sound so bad. Especially when you throw in silly costumes and dance music, as the advertisements for the One Love Generation Stache Dash promised.
This was my thought process signing up for the run. However, while picking up my goodie bag and running number last Thursday at the pre-party, I realized that the other people there were actually runners: fit and professional. I could only assume this wasn’t their first time being handed a number. They, I realized, thought it was fun to run.
This was when I got a little scared.
I somehow made it out of bed Saturday morning and to Tin Lizzy’s in Buckhead. The energy was high. Sombreros, brightly-colored fishnet tights or knee-high socks (this is not gender-specific), and, of course, staches of all shapes, sizes and colors were rampant. My mustache, one of many provided by Scoutmob, another sponsor of the event, was a Mr. Oxford (at least according to a little internet research on mustache styles). Most people were dressed to run, but my nerves settled a bit when I saw a large number of people who were dressed to party. And I spied more than one person with a pre-9 a.m. margarita. Of course, most of those people weren’t running, and I may have resented them a little by the end.
The race started with no one really knowing. A huge crowd of people took off in the opposite direction most of us were looking. There was no going back now.
People ran with their children, pushing jogging strollers up the inclines with amazing upper arm strength while the kids rested (I envied them a little). They ran with their dogs, who looked mostly like they didn’t know why they couldn’t stop and smell/pee on the roses. I was chugging along, proud I hadn’t fallen or prompted a 911 call, and there were people having confessional-life-story conversations as they ran. I was just trying to breathe.
The race was staggered with cheerleaders and high-fiving policemen keeping the roads blocked off (how do you get to be one of the cheerleaders anyway? Their shirts were cooler: bright orange instead of gray). It may have been psychological, but the water cups handed to me at one point tasted like they’d recently held tequila.
About halfway through the race, the people who were having the most fun — our cheerleaders — came through big time, driving by on a float blaring “It’s Getting Hot in Here” (which it was) and shouting encouragement through the megaphone. Their enthusiasm, enhanced by their green, white and red sombreros and huge staches, gave me that extra jolt I needed. By the time I reached the finish line, I felt like I could have kept going.
The celebrations began as people made their decisions to either go home and shower or just stay and enjoy the party. I opted for the first. As I left, I noted the back of one participant’s shirt: I would love to stay but I really mustache.