At 7 a.m. this past Saturday morning, while you were cozied up under the covers enjoying luxuries like sleep and heat, a super-inspirational (and maybe a little crazy) group of people were outside, in the cold, rainy Philadelphia-winter weather, gearing up to run the Rocky 50K. Yep, that’s right: 50K. The run, in its second year, takes the same 30.61-mile route Rocky seemingly ran in Rocky II, kicking off in South Philly and ending at the Art Museum. And let me tell you, the photos do not disappoint. So it only seemed fitting to use them as this week’s #MotivationMonday roundup. Below, a big fat dose of get-moving inspiration, courtesy of all the folks who bravely ran the Rocky 50K.
Scrambling for weekend plans? We have you covered. Here are five ways to get your fit on this weekend in Philly.
How long does a grass-roots DIY run last before it gets co-opted by The Man? Based on recent evidence, about a year.
Last year, I wrote a piece mapping Rocky Balboa’s training run in Rocky II. By connecting the scenes in a montage, I discovered Rocky ran a shade under 31 miles. About three hours after the piece went up, I got an email from Rebecca Schaefer, a Philadelphia resident who runs in ultra races, asking if she could attempt to organize an actual 50K roughly tracing the course I drew. It’d be a “fat-ass” run: Lightly organized, with no entry fees, awards or road closures. “It’d be small, for sure,” she wrote.
It wasn’t. The article attracted a bit of attention. Schaefer’s run was widely covered; more than 100 people showed up to run at least part of it. Runners collected sneakers for Back on My Feet. A woman who ran it pregnant last year named her son Rocky.
And now MGM has threatened Schaefer with a lawsuit, sending her a cease-and-desist letter over the Rocky 50K Fat Ass Run. “To be honest, I was shocked it hadn’t come sooner,” Schaefer, the run’s organizer, says. She’s changing the name of the Rocky 50K for its second edition on December 6th, a run that’s become much larger than she ever imagined. The soon-to-be-renamed Rocky 50K has no entry fees or actual sign-up list; Schaefer makes no money on the event.
People, squee with me.
Last week, local runner Rebecca Schaefer, who organized the inaugural Rocky 50K Fat Ass Run last year, forwarded me the following last week from a runner named Dana, who’d participated in the Rocky Run last December.
My editor asked me to write this article as a companion piece to Victor Fiorillo’s Biggest Losers of 2013 article, and I must admit I’m a little stuck. First off, Victor recently caused a stranger to tell the news, “The world is still kind.” I haven’t reunited anyone with their stolen Christmas cards this year. That do-gooder gets to write the negative column and I have to do the positive one!
Still, a column is a column — and it shouldn’t be too hard to find a bunch of Big Winners from the city I love. I guess a winner is largely someone who creates a “good news” story about Philadelphia. I can do this. Let’s dive in.
Philly Mag’s Dan McQuade expressed his hope on Monday that the new Rocky 50K run—which he inspired by mapping out the training montage run from Rocky II—would become an annual event.
— Rebecca Schaefer (@rebschaefer) December 10, 2013
And so they did it. A group of crazy-awesome ultramarathoners (word has it, there were over 100 of them at the starting line) actually ran the 30+ mile course at the Rocky 50K Fat Ass Run on Saturday. If you didn’t make it out (or if you did, and you want to relive the fun), here’s what the day looked like on Instagram.
I just thought some friends would get a kick out of it, honestly.
I had been batting around the idea of mapping out the route Rocky ran in Rocky II for a while, but I never got around to it. It’s not that I thought it was a stupid idea — if you’re a regular reader, you know many of my ideas are stupid — but that I didn’t think anyone would be that interested. Would a map of Rocky’s route be better than a thorough recap of Air Bud: Seventh Inning Fetch, my previous magnum opus? I thought not.
I wrote it, of course, after seeing two men dressed as Rocky — one a foreign tourist, one a guy who hangs around the Art Museum steps posing for photos with tourists — while doing a run up and down the Art Museum steps. (They posed for a photo together, and I’m surprised the world didn’t explode at that very moment.) I bought a cheap copy of Rocky II at The Gallery. With the help of some friends, I mapped out the course. I was pretty happy with the result, but I didn’t think anyone would get a kick out of it as much as I did.
Lordy, does time fly. I can’t believe it was back in September when we first broke the news that someone had stepped up to the plate to organize a run based on the epic training montage in Rocky II, a 30.61-mile route first pieced together by Dan McQuade over on our news blog. Now that the Rocky 50K Fat Ass Run is just 11 days away, I figured it was time to check in with organizer Rebecca Schaefer to see how things are shaping up—and, you know, to find out if the thing is still happening.
In a word: Yes, it’s still on. Here’s what Rebecca had to say about all the logistics, how she’s been training, and what aspects of the fatass-style run (in her words: “no fees, no bibs, no medals, no refreshments, no BS”) are keeping her up at night.