Chase the Chicken 3K: What it was like to run as a ‘chicken’

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Chickens, aka Derek and me, gather for a photo after the Chase the Chicken 3K Fun Run/Walk.

I’ve run a lot of races, but before last weekend, I’d never done one in a chicken costume.

The Chase the Chicken 3K Fun Run/Walk was held on Saturday, Aug. 18, as part of the Wicomico County Fair at WinterPlace Park. I work for Wicomico County Recreation, Parks & Tourism, which partnered with the Wicomico Farm & Home Show to put on the fair starting with this year.

This was the inaugural year of this fun run. My colleague Derek Jarmon and I dressed up in chicken costumes for the event.

Before we actually started running, another colleague, Allen Swiger, gave us some fun introductions. You can watch them in this video on the fair’s Facebook page — there are announcements and awards, and then the chicken intros start at about 4:55.

A 3K is a little less than two miles, so although the costume was made of felt and not very breathable, at least I wouldn’t be wearing it for a long distance. Also, the costume didn’t cover my face and was nowhere near as thick as, for example, a mascot costume.

I did realize early on that the orange chicken feet were not going to stay on top of my shoes. Instead, I ended up stepping on them basically the whole way — because I didn’t want to adjust them the whole time — and they were very dirty when I crossed the finish line.

Derek and I started running. The course led from an arch that was set up near the pavilion to in front of the tennis courts, and then along a tree line before heading into the woods.

Thirty seconds after we began the run, kids started their run in an effort to catch us. Thirty seconds after that — a minute after Derek and I had started — the adults took off.

Male runners were trying to come in ahead of Derek to win a free chicken dinner from the Lions Club five-foot fry pan, and female runners were trying to come in ahead of me at an attempt to win the same prize.

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It’s not every day that a chicken takes a selfie! 

Derek got ahead of me early, and I tried to settle into a good pace. Since I’d already been given a head start, I thought it would be more fun if some people came in ahead of me, but I also wanted to keep up a competitive pace. Of course, there were people who passed me early on and who would have passed me no matter what pace I was running.

 

I ended up settling in behind a couple young girls. They would sprint ahead of me, then walk some, and when I caught up to them, they would start running again. They kept looking back to see where I was, and it seemed like they were helping each other along.

The course took us runners through the woods, and then, at the end, we went around the pond before crossing under the arch again.

I ran the first mile in 10:00 and the second part, 0.85, at a 10:53 pace. This was a final time of 19:16 and averaged out to a 10:24 pace, which is faster than I’ve been doing most runs in this hot and humid summer weather. I’m not sure whether it was the pace or the chicken costume, but my heart rate did stay pretty high on this run. I was in Zone 4 out of 5 for 16:35.

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Here’s another photo of chickens Derek and Vanessa.

As a fun run, the race was not timed and there were not bibs or results, so I wasn’t sure exactly how many people I came in ahead of or how many finished behind me. However, I just remembered that I could figure this out by counting the finishers on the finish line video — also posted on the Fair’s Facebook page. It actually turned out that six male runners came in ahead of Derek and six female runners came in ahead of me, and 10 additional male runners also came in ahead of me. There were about 70 participants.

 

Afterward, a bunch of the participants wanted to take pictures with us chickens! It made me feel like a celebrity, and I posed for plenty of photos.

I had a lot of fun as a chicken! Next year’s Wicomico County Fair will be Aug. 16-18, 2019. Mark your calendars and stay tuned for more details on next year’s events and Chase the Chicken 3K.

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