Thrift Store 50k

“I’m gonna pop some tags, only got $20 in my pocket.”

The rules are simple. You get to wear your own socks, shoes and undergarments but outside of that… you’ve got $20 to spend in one single transaction to get everything you need for a 50k. $20 may seem like it would be plenty, but we (Matty Fierce & I) feel it’s a good cap to make participants think creatively and strategically through their purchases. Since the fatass event takes place in January, you never know what the weather is going to be like. Will it be 70° and humid? Will it be 23° and freezing? Will there be rain? This is the beauty of the Alabama. Outside of clothing purchases… participants must think through nutrition. Yes. You read that correctly. Your nutrition must also come from the thrift store. On top of that… how will one carry said nutrition? Backpack? Fanny pack? It’s all about the hunt!!

The origins of this nonsense seem to be lost in the 2019/2020 history books. I vaguely remember being half lit with my boys on Lookout Mtn 50 mile weekend 2019 wandering around downtown Chattanooga and passed a Family Dollar on the way back to our loft. Someone mentioned that one day we should all just walk into a Family Dollar or Dollar General and make a single purchase and run a marathon. That concept stuck in our dome pieces long enough that we would periodically mention it so we wouldn’t forget.

We set the date in January since there wasn’t a lot going on and we needed a long run. At first, we were just gonna do it ourselves, but then decided to make it an unofficial event and throw it out into the run community for a potential group run. I’m real glad we did that. It turned out to be waaaaaaay more fun that way!

Over the last 3-4 weeks, we went out and scouted a potential route. We wanted to provide errrrrybody with water opportunities every 10-11 miles so that it could be a true fatass event with no aid. Section 1 turned out to be a solid section, allowing an option with easy access back to the start for the folks that didn’t want to cover the 50k distance. I think going forward we’ll keep that section 1 option so that more people can participate and enjoy the challenge!

I was pretty happy about the route we linked together! With the exception of a half mile of road, we never had to backtrack on any trail we had previously covered during the event! The route ended up being 31.4 miles w/ ~ 4K of climbing!

I think what made the event so much fun was the build up to the run. It was entertaining to see people posting their swag and thrift finds on the event page! Everyone had their own unique strategy and style!

Since the weather forecast looked gorgeous, I went minimal with the clothing and loaded up on snacks. I snagged a pair of women’s CrossFit games shorty shorts (w/ “I’m the toughest girl I know” written on the liner), a unicorn Great Smoky Mountains t-shirt, some gloves, a sweet beanie, a Jim Beam fanny pack and waaaaay to big water bottle. For nutrition, I went with oatmeal cream pies (big no-go for next year), some salted nuts, watermelon gummy rings, gummy worms and a Gatorade. My haul cost $18.66.

We honestly had no clue how many folks were gonna show, but we made sure to get out the day before and flag the route. We actually had a pretty decent turnout for a last minute event! And let me tell ya… the thrift swag was even better in person!

After we all had to recite the runner’s oath… we set off for a fun filled day on the trails!

Since this wasn’t an actual race, I stayed back a bit to ensure everyone at least nailed the first turn. I enjoyed getting to chat with some folks that I hadn’t seen in a while. It seems like it’s been forever since I’ve just been a part of a group run outside of my core crew.

Great conversation made the first 11.5 miles tick away quickly. A small group convened near the marina/paddle boats and chatted for a minute or 2 before filling up on water and heading back onto the trails. Most of the crowd did the first 11.5 miles and took the .5 road walk back to their car. A few brave souls were in for the full ride with 2-3 looking to get 20-24 miles in for the day.

The weather continued to improve as the morning progressed. I know winters seem to be grey and gloomy… especially with the early sunset… but this one seems to be more so than the last. The sun was refreshing.

Once we got onto the Blue trail, I linked up with Pete and we made a good push to the BMX area (for lack of a better word: aid station 2). The BMX area was about the 21 mile mark. Pete was wrapping up his run at BMX and I didn’t really feel much like running the last section alone, so we chilled and shot the breeze with Greg & William until the others arrived. Adelita called it a day at BMX (who looked super strong to have only been back training for a few weeks!) & Kristi decided to dock on a few road miles to get her 24 miles. TJ rolled through and carried on down the trail and I joined up with Andrew as he came through BMX. The 3 of us ran the last 10 miles together. I had never run with these dudes before and enjoyed our time on the trails together!

Once we hit tranquility road, we linked up with Teri for the last few miles. We were welcomed at the finish area by a few folks in lawn chairs. I enjoyed the post-run fellowship in the sun!

I/we can’t thank everyone enough for coming out and joining in on our fun run! I can’t wait till next year when we have more time to plan some super cheesy thrift store awards. But let’s all get one thing clear…. Oatmeal Cream Pie is NOT where’s it at friends… right Matty Fierce?!

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