Mount Sanitas Fun Run Friday – A Foolish Exercise

“You always have to be the wise guy, eh?  I am going to start calling you Jake…..the village idiot.”

–Frank Guzek, my dad 1987

A blue net hat from a trip to Hawaii somehow made its way from the bottom of the hat drawer and into the living room and I saw it and had the same thought that most anyone would – “I can use that hat to make a kick ass 70s runner costume and run up Mount Santias this Thursday morning!”  Throwback Thursday was born!  Well, my two small kids screwed up my Thursday run so it was pushed back to Friday and so Throwback Thursday died as quickly as it began and Fun Run Friday was born!

Net hat, jorts, tube socks and funny shades. A tradition was born.

And so it began shortly before 6 AM on June 8th 2012 at the base of Mt. Sanitas.  A man in a net hat and jean shorts set out to change the world….that man’s name was me.  My idea was to run up in that outfit every Friday.  I would be like a ghost emerging from the morning mist on Friday and then disappearing as quickly as I came.  I’d be elusive.  Some would doubt my existence.  Others would speak in taverns (in whispered voices only) of their encounters with me.  It would be magical.  Spiritual.  But that first run taught me something.  It taught me that jean shorts chafe.

With that, I knew the strategic vision of this operation needed to change.  Any summit wearing or carrying anything ridiculous was fair game and the more ridiculous the better.  Thus began a weekly ritual of spending Thursday nights running around the house pulling out old clothes and props to assemble something I could run to the top of Sanitas with. I have two rules.  Rule 1 is to wear proper footwear.  I just couldn’t live with myself if I broke an ankle because I tripped in Wonder Woman boots.  Rule 2 is to not be offensive.  I don’t mind if someone thinks running up and carrying a wooden patio chair is a stupid idea (mainly because it’s absolutely a stupid idea), but if people start getting pissed off then it’s just not worth the wigs and morning make up.

Over the weeks I have come to know many familiar faces on the mountain…many of them with horrible fun run ideas such as (keep in mind these ideas were at the height of our very hot summer) Eskimo, snowboarder, scuba diver  and  lumberjack with working chainsaw…..  I suppose when you are at the top of the mountain talking with a guy who just ran up with a tray of drinks and lots of flair, no idea seems off limits. Nevertheless, seeing a good number of people truly get a kick out of it makes me think “yes, it was worth all that time in the basement looking for the George Mikan protective eye glasses in order to pull this costume off” and “that hour with the table saw to make that banner instead of helping my wife with dinner was worth it.”

I’ve learned a lot these last few months running the 1500 vertical feet from my house up to the top of Mount Sanitas with prop or costume every Friday morning.  I’ve learned carrying a wooden patio chair isn’t as hard as it might seem, while being dressed as Atlas and carrying a giant globe is very hard.  Unless they see it in the commercial, most people just think a Snuggie is a long funning looking robe.  Too many people in Boulder can watch a guy run by them in a tie with a briefcase and coffee and not smile.  Dribbling a basketball along a rocky ridgeline trail is a risky endeavor.  If you are carrying some swim noodles and you ask someone if the pool is still at the top, too many will genuinely think you are looking for a pool at the top.  Moses did not carry a Fed Ex package and a volleyball with a red handprint on it, Tom Hanks in the movie Castaway did.  Good friends will run with you, but those who run with you in costume are just as stupid as you.  Treasure them.  Even Jake the village idiot needs friends.


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