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11 Unusual Footraces

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Regular 5K not of interest to you? Considering participating in one of these offbeat races, which go the extra mile to stand out.

1. KRISPY KREME CHALLENGE

The Krispy Kreme Challenge is an annual race in Raleigh, North Carolina that has become a tradition for students at North Carolina State University. The challenge is to run 2.5 miles from the campus to a Krispy Kreme outlet, eat a dozen doughnuts, and then make it back to the starting point. It began as a dare among students in 2004, and by 2006 it was an organized race that raised $800 for the North Carolina Children's Hospital. Last year, more than 8000 runners participated and raised $195,000, bringing the total the hospital has received from the race over the years to $1,149,000. The 2017 Krispy Kreme Challenge will take place February 4.

2. RED DRESS RUN

The Hash House Harriers is an international network of non-competitive runners dating back to 1938 whose motto is "A drinking club with a running problem." The Red Dress run originated years ago with the San Diego chapter. In 1987, a young woman named Donna Rhinehart went to a Hash event to meet a friend wearing a red dress and heels. The group assumed she couldn't run because of the way she was dressed, and she took that as a challenge, completing the run in her dress and heels. The next year, she was invited back, and the entire club staged the first Red Dress Run. Hundreds of runners turned out in red frocks. Since then, the Red Dress Run is an annual event to raise funds for various charities. It has spread to many Hash House Harriers groups worldwide, with about 100 annual events being held in different cities. The next two Red Dress runs in 2017 will be in Seattle on February 11 and Moline, Illinois, on February 18. You can keep up with the schedule of runs here.

3. BEER MILE

The rules for a Beer Mile is that you drink a beer, then run a lap around a track, then drink a beer, then run another lap, until you've completed four laps and four beers. A British variation is called the Chunder Mile, in which pints are drunk (and throwing up is allowed). The National Beer Mile series has events across the U.S., but they haven't posted a 2017 schedule yet. If the schedule is like last year's, they will begin in March.

4. THE WHOLE EARTH MAN V HORSE MARATHON

The Man v Horse Marathon has been an annual event in Llanwrtyd Wells, Wales since 1980. A few horses and riders compete against runners on foot for 22 miles over rough terrain. Only twice in those years has a human ever beaten the horses (2004 and 2007). The winner among the runners gets a trophy, but prize money only goes to a runner who crosses the finish line before any horse. The pot starts at £500, and another £500 is added each year until a runner wins it. The race for 2017, which happens on June 10, will have a cash prize of £2000 up for grabs.

5. STILETTO RUN (NETHERLANDS)

The Stiletto Run in Haarlem, Netherlands, is a 100-meter race in which runners are required to wear shoes with heels at least 3.5 inches tall. What makes this race a real draw for spectators is that it's not just women who race—many men participate as well. It's a fundraiser for the Free a Girl campaign, which helps girls in Asia, Brazil, and the Netherlands escape forced prostitution. The 2017 run will take place on June 11.

6. STILETTO RUN (U.S.)

Sean-Franc Strang via Flickr // CC BY 2.0

The half-kilometer Stiletto Run is an annual event in Buffalo, New York, to benefit the Ovarian Cancer National Alliance. Runners aren't required to wear high heels, but to win first, second, or third place, you must be wearing heels at least 3 inches high. The date isn't yet set for the 2017 race, but it should be in summertime.

7. SHAMROCK 5K BEER RUN

The Shamrock 5K Beer Run will take place on Saturday, March 11, 2017 in Indianapolis, and Saturday, March 18, in Chicago. Runners start with a 3-ounce beer, with 3 ounces more at four beer stations along the way, plus a pint at the finish line (for a grand total of 31 ounces of brew). The event isn't timed, and prizes are awarded for the best costumes—not the fastest runners.

8. PANCAKE RACE

Robin Myerscough via Flickr // CC BY 2.0

Shrove Tuesday, the day before Lent begins, is often called Pancake Day, a day to use up fats and sweets to prepare for fasting. Many communities hold pancake breakfasts, and some even stage pancake races. According to the town of Olney in Buckinghamshire, UK, they've held their Pancake Race every Shrove Tuesday for over 500 years. The race is open to Olney women over 18, who must run wearing an apron and headscarf, carrying a frying pan with a pancake in it. Runners must flip their pancakes before and after running the course. The runners in Olney compete with runners in the Liberal, Kansas, Pancake Race, as they have since 1950. This year's race will be held on February 28.

9. NYC PIZZA RUN

The two-mile-long New York City Pizza Run will hold its eighth annual race in September. The run—which has three stops where runners eat a slice of pizza—benefits the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation (JDRF). For those who prefer sweets, the annual NYC Cupcake Run follows in October.

10. KONA UNDERPANTS RUN

The Kona Underpants Run in Kona, Hawaii, began in 1998 as a protest against people wearing Speedos in public places besides the beach. It has evolved into an annual event welcoming people to the Ironman Triathlon World Championships (October 14 this year) and a fundraiser for various local charities. The 1.5 mile Underpants Run will be held the Thursday before Ironman on October 12.

11. APRIL FOOL'S DAY TWINKIE RUN

Ann Arbor, Michigan, is the site of the annual April Fool's Day Twinkie Run. During the 3.1 mile race, runners must stop and eat a Twinkie at designated stations. (There is a class for Twinkie Skippers.) The Twinkie Run benefits Ann Arbor Active Against ALS.

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10 Famous Birthdays in May
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Some of our favorite historical figures were born in May. We couldn't possibly name them all, so here are just a few of the notable people we'll be celebrating.

1. SIGMUND FREUD: MAY 6, 1856

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Sigmund Freud is known as the Father of Psychoanalysis. The Vienna psychiatrist developed a theory of the unconscious mind, where the id, ego, and superego struggle to balance each other out in the human psyche. Freud attributed his patients' neuroses to childhood trauma, often cloaked in a sexual conflict. His work was at first deemed perverted, but his ideas started to spread after a series of lectures in the U.S. in 1909. After Freud's death in 1939, Freudian theory was hailed as genius in mainstream culture. But beginning in the 1960s, Freud's theories started to fall out of favor in academia and are largely discredited today. However, his attempts to map the psyche gave us the language we still use to discuss personality and mental health.

2. FRED ASTAIRE: MAY 10, 1899

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Fred Astaire began dancing when he was just four years old. Soon he and his sister Adele were in a performing arts school and started dancing professionally. First came vaudeville, then Broadway, and when Adele married, Fred headed to Hollywood. Producers were at first reluctant to cast Astaire as a leading man because of his looks, but his dancing soon won them over. Astaire appeared in dozens of films between 1933 and 1981, 10 of them with with dance partner Ginger Rogers. Although his later films did not revolve around dance numbers, Astaire was seen dancing in an episode of Battlestar Galactica as late as 1979, when he was 80 years old.

3. MARTHA GRAHAM: MAY 11, 1894

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Martha Graham wanted to dance from an early age, but her parents disapproved, so she didn't study dance until college. Her wildly emotional dancing led her to performances in New York, and in 1926 she established the Martha Graham Dance Company. Through the company, Graham promoted modern dance as a spiritual and emotional outlet. Over time, she came to be seen as a genius of the genre. Graham danced until she was in her '70s, and continued to choreograph dances until her death at age 91.

4. KATHARINE HEPBURN: MAY 12, 1907

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Katharine Hepburn caught the acting bug in college and headed to the stages of New York upon graduation. She was spotted in a Broadway production and was offered the lead in RKO's 1932 film A Bill of Divorcement. That kicked off a movie career of more than 60 years, in which she was nominated for 12 Academy Awards and won four. Hepburn was a certified box office draw, but off screen she refused to behave like a Hollywood star. She spoke her mind, wore pants, and even appeared in public without makeup occasionally. Hepburn was also known for her devotion to the love of her life, actor Spencer Tracy, who was separated from his wife but refused to divorce her. The last of nine films they made together was Guess Who's Coming to Dinner in 1967, just before Tracy died. Hepburn continued making movies through 1994, when she was 87 years old.

5. PIERRE CURIE: MAY 15, 1859

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French physicist Pierre Curie is often overlooked in favor of Marie Curie, his brilliant student and later wife. Together they discovered radium and polonium, and did extensive research into radioactivity. Pierre, Marie, and Henri Becquerel jointly won the 1903 Nobel Prize in Physics for their research. Curie might have gone onto many further discoveries, but he was killed in 1906 when a horse-drawn cart ran over him in Paris. If he had lived longer, Curie might have also succumbed to illness caused by radiation, as did his wife, daughter, and son-in-law—all Nobel Prize winners.

6. MARY CASSATT: MAY 22, 1844

Mary Cassatt via Wikimedia Commons // Public Domain

Wikimedia Commons // Public Domain

Renowned American painter Mary Cassatt wanted to become an artist, but her parents objected and her Philadelphia art school didn't take women students seriously. So she went to Paris and studied privately under teachers from Ecole des Beaux-Arts, as the school did not admit women. Gradually, Cassatt's works sold and her reputation grew. She drew the attention of Impressionist Edgar Degas, and worked with him for years. By 1886, she left the Impressionist movement behind, and afterward refused to be defined by any art genre. Cassatt's body of work often featured women and children in their everyday lives. Her most memorable painting, Little Girl in a Blue Armchair, broke with tradition by portraying a child in a naturalistic, casual pose instead of a formal portrait.

7. SIR ARTHUR CONAN DOYLE: MAY 22, 1859

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Arthur Conan Doyle is best remembered for his many short stories and novels featuring the detective Sherlock Holmes. But Conan Doyle worked full time as a medical doctor until an illness convinced him he had to choose between writing and medicine. Years later, Conan Doyle volunteered with the British army to fight in the Second Boer War, but because of his age (40), he was only allowed to serve as a medical doctor. Upon his return from South Africa, he entered politics in Scotland, but he lost his only race. In 1907, Conan Doyle became involved in a real criminal case in which he helped George Edalji, a solicitor of Indian heritage, beat an animal cruelty conviction by employing the observational technique that Sherlock Holmes used. The fallout from that case led to the establishment of the appeals system in Britain. Conan Doyle also wrote a science fiction novel The Lost World, published in 1912. It was so successful that he wrote four sequels.

8. MARGARET FULLER: MAY 23, 1810

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Born in Massachusetts in 1810, Margaret Fuller was a precocious child who learned several languages but was not welcome at college because of her sex. She became friends with both Ralph Waldo Emerson and Henry David Thoreau, who admired her philosophical thinking. Fuller became a literary critic for the New-York Tribune and a well-known intellectual.

In 1845, Fuller made history with Woman in the Nineteenth Century, often considered the first major feminist work published in the United States. This groundbreaking book began as an essay in Emerson's transcendentalist journal The Dial called "The Great Lawsuit. Man versus Men. Woman versus Women," in which Fuller argued that men and women must see each other as equals before they can transcend to divine love. Fuller reasoned that ignoring our commonality was the base of much of America's sins, from the slaughter of Native Americans to the slavery of African Americans.

Fuller went on to become a foreign correspondent and the first American female war correspondent, covering the Italian revolution. She also fell in love with an Italian man and had a child with him. On their return trip to the U.S. in 1850 aboard a merchant ship, a hurricane struck the ship near Fire Island, killing all three. Only Fuller's 20-month-old son was found.

9. SALLY RIDE: MAY 26, 1951

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In 1983, Sally Ride became the first American woman to travel into space, aboard the space shuttle Challenger. Ride was a nationally ranked tennis player when she was a teenager. Billie Jean King urged her to turn pro, but Ride went to Stanford University instead. She earned both a bachelor of arts in English and a bachelor of science in physics in 1973, and a PhD in physics in 1978. Ride then immediately applied for NASA's astronaut program. She flew two shuttle missions, in 1983 and '84, and was scheduled for a third, but that mission was canceled after the Challenger explosion in 1986. After leaving NASA in 1987, Ride devoted her life to encouraging students to study science—especially girls. She founded the organization Sally Ride Science for just that purpose, and wrote five children's books encouraging interest in science. Ride died of cancer at age 61 in 2012.

10. "WILD BILL" HICKOK: MAY 27, 1837

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James Butler Hickok was a farmer, soldier, stagecoach driver, spy, lawman, scout, sharpshooter, gambler, and Wild West showman. Many of those occupations came after "Wild Bill" Hickok gained publicity for killing three men in an 1861 shootout. The newspapers followed his exploits from that time on, often embellishing the details until Hickok was more of a legend than the adventurer he was. His various occupations took him to different parts of Kansas, Nebraska, Missouri, Wyoming, and South Dakota. Hickok was playing poker in Deadwood, South Dakota, when Jack McCall shot him in the back of the head and killed him in 1876. The hand Hickok was holding at the time—a pair of black aces and a pair of black eights—became known as the "dead man's hand."

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9 Bizarre Food Museums
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Idaho Potato Museum via Facebook

What’s your favorite food? Chances are, there’s a museum dedicated to it somewhere. You might want to include one or more of these museums in your next vacation road trip.  

1. JELL-O GALLERY // LEROY, NEW YORK

Pearle Wait of LeRoy, New York, invented a fruit-flavored gelatin dessert in 1897 that he wife named Jell-O. Appropriately, the town is home to the Jell-O Gallery, a museum dedicated to the gelatin that took America by storm. Visitors will learn the history of Jell-O, see memorabilia and advertising from Jell-O history, and learn about cooking in the past century. The museums operated by the non-profit LeRoy Historical Society, and is not supported by Kraft/General Foods, which owns Jell-O. The museum is open seven days a week through December, and weekdays January through March.    

2. THE SPAM MUSEUM // AUSTIN, MINNESOTA

The Hormel company has its headquarters in Austin, Minnesota, a few miles south of Minneapolis. That’s also the home of the Spam Museum. Hormel opened a small company museum in the local mall in 1991, but quickly found that all their visitors cared about was Spam, so now that classic canned meat has its own building downtown. Exhibits include the history of Spam, cooking demonstrations, Spam memorabilia, and a soundtrack from Monty Python.

3. INTERNATIONAL BANANA MUSEUM // NORTH SHORE, CALIFORNIA

In 2005, the International Banana Club Museum was named by the Guinness Book of World Records as the “most items devoted to any one fruit in the world.” The IBC Museum was established by Ken Bannister and the club in 1975, and amassed its collection of 17,000 banana items from club members who gained “banana merits.” The collection was sold in 2010 and is now the International Banana Museum. It is open Monday through Friday from 11 a.m. to 7:30 p.m.   

4. WYANDOT POPCORN MUSEUM // MARION, OHIO

Wyandot Popcorn Museum via Facebook

Marion, Ohio, is the self-proclaimed Popcorn Capital of the World, due to the existence of the Wyandot Popcorn Company, which was based in the area since the 1930s. The company now focuses on chips, but its legacy is enshrined in the Wyandot Popcorn Museum, which boasts an extensive collection of restored antique popcorn poppers. These commercial poppers range from movie theater models to snack wagons to factory poppers, some over 100 years old. The museum shares space with the Wyandot Historical Society in the town’s historic former post office building. The museum is open Wednesday through Sunday, 1 to 4 p.m. through October, and weekends only the rest of the year.  

5. NATIONAL DAIRY SHRINE MUSEUM // FORT ATKINSON, WISCONSIN

The National Dairy Shrine is a professional group formed in 1949 promote the milk industry. The National Dairy Shrine Museum is a place to learn about all facets of the dairy industry, from the history of midwest dairy farmers to the production of butter, ice cream, cheese, and other products. The Shrine also has educational programs, a Hall of Fame honoring leaders in the industry, scholarships and internships, and more. The museum is open Tuesday through Saturday from 9:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

6. NATIONAL MUSTARD MUSEUM // MIDDLETON, WISCONSIN

Barry Levenson was once Wisconsin’s Assistant Attorney General, but his real passion is mustard. He’s been collecting different mustards since 1986, and eventually left his law career completely to devote his time to the Mount Horeb Mustard Museum he founded in 1992. In 2000, the growing museum moved to its permanent location in Middleton and became the National Mustard Museum. There you can see 5,624 different mustards and a collection of mustard memorabilia. The museum is open 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. seven days a week. Admission is free, as the museum is supported by donations and mustard sales.   

7. INTERNATIONAL VINEGAR MUSEUM // ROSLYN, SOUTH DAKOTA

International Vinegar Museum via Facebook

The world’s only vinegar museum was founded by Lawrence "Vinegarman" Diggs to showcase the many  varieties of vinegar and its many uses. The International Vinegar Museum has 350 different varieties of vinegar, a test kitchen, and vinegar tastings for visitors. The museum is open during the summer only. If you plan to visit Roslyn, the best time would be in June during the International Vinegar Festival.  

8. THE IDAHO POTATO MUSEUM // BLACKFOOT, IDAHO

Idaho Potato Museum via Facebook

Idaho produces more potatoes than any other state, so it only makes sense that they would have a museum dedicated to the state’s crop. The Idaho Potato Museum is housed in the historic Oregon Short Line Railroad Depot in Blackfoot. You’ll learn about potato history, growing potatoes, and the importance of potatoes to Idaho’s economy. The newest addition to the museum is the Potato Station Cafe, which specialized in French fries, of course. The Idaho Potato Museum is open six days a week from April through September, and weekdays from October through March.  

9. HARLAND SANDERS CAFÉ AND MUSEUM // CORBIN, KENTUCKY

Harland Sanders fed travelers at his gas station on Corbin, Kentucky, during the Great Depression, and then opened a restaurant, where he developed his method of pressure-frying chicken, which he breaded with 11 herbs and spices. Kentucky Fried Chicken grew out of that restaurant, which for a time had a motel attached. Sanders set up a sample hotel room inside the restaurant so that travelers could see what the rooms looked like before making the decision to stay. The motel is gone, but that restaurant was restored as the Harland Sanders Cafe and Museum, with many of the original artifacts, including the sample motel room. There is a modern KFC outlet attached. Some of the museum’s artifacts are displayed at the fast food unit, and you can sit down and eat your chicken in the museum.

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