The greatest race never won – or something like that

Alexis Stockford does the All-Canadian Run during IDays (Sean Brady/The Omega)

Alexis Stockford does the All-Canadian Run during IDays (Sean Brady/The Omega)

You know that feeling when you’re about to do something totally imma­ture? That’s kind of how it felt lining up at the start line of the All-Canadi­an Run last Wednesday.

A maze of balance boards, hockey nets and Timbits lay in front of me, a setup the likes of which I hadn’t seen since high school freshie week. On the sidelines, three of my fellow Omega editors stood, cameras and voice re­corders at the ready and shit-eating grins fully in place. I hadn’t been able to talk a single one into running with me.

The starter raised her whistle and I crouched down, flanked by my com­petitors.

“On your mark, get set, go!”

And we were off.

I was a little slow out of the gate, probably held back by the lingering feeling of “I can’t believe I’m doing this.”

I rushed to the first table, jammed a hockey helmet on my head and made for the log run. Skipping across the narrow board, I saw the competitor on my left fall off. Second place was mine.

The next station was a hockey shootout. Two shots in net and you were past. Reaching down, I grabbed a hockey stick an instant after my com­petitor in the blue t-shirt and lined up my shot.

A swell of victory hit me when I was the first to sink the ball into the net. This was it! I was owning this thing!

The pressure must have gotten to me, because I missed the next three, one really embarrassingly from about two feet away.

I could hear my editor, Sean Brady, laughing as he gleefully snapped shots.

What can I say? Wayne Gretzky I am not.

By the time I got to the next sta­tion (panhandling fake coins out of two Rubbermaid buckets filled with muck) my two competitors were far ahead. One was already past the sta­tion and onto the last challenge.

Frantically grabbing the pan, I was momentarily confused by the lack of holes. I was pretty sure there were supposed to be holes. How was the water supposed to drain out if there were no holes?

In the end, I ended up just scooping muck into the pan and feeling around with my hands. Not pretty, but it worked.

Finally, I was at my last obstacle, the final chance to make up some ground. Five Timbits sat waiting for me. I had barely stopped moving before shoving the first one in my mouth.

My hands were covered with rust and shiny with metal flecks when I looked down at them. I wondered how much metal I was eating with the Timbit, but didn’t think about it too hard.

“What’s a little iron oxide between friends?” I thought, not willing to give up on the race for the sake of a little rust.

Chewing frantically, I snuck a look at my competitor’s plates. Both were farther than me, but I was catching up. I picked up a third and fourth Timbit. The competitor beside me still had three to go. For one glorious moment, my cheeks full to bursting with Timbit like some demented chipmunk. I was sure I had it in the bag.

All the sugar must have absorbed my saliva though, because the third Timbit went down harder and the fourth and fifth I almost choked on. By the time I swallowed my last mouthful, the others were past.

I spun and ran, crossing the fin­ish line only a few moments late. Still fighting slight nausea brought on cramming fat and sugar into my mouth, I walked over and collected my medal. Hey, third place is third place.

Sharing a glance with Sean on the sidelines, I couldn’t help but laugh. It was ridiculous, it was childish, but it was the most fun I had all day.