Saturday, October 16, 2010

The Running of the Snails

Well, we all know about the thrilling and dangerous event in Pamplona, Spain: “The Running of the Bulls.” But what if there was another event for slower runners, like yours truly? Here is what just might happen....

Cohonnahonna, Hawaii. October 14, 2010. FSEN (Funky Sports Entertainment Network). Several near-tragedies were barely averted as dozens of runners ran the streets of Cohonnahonna today, along with several hundred fierce African giant land snails in the first annual “Running of the Snails.” Most of the runners seemed ill-prepared for the speed and power of these massive mollusks, to say nothing of their impressive slime trails.

“It was pretty horrible,” said Kristin Snodgrass of Kentucky. “I thought I had trained hard for this event, but nothing can compare you for the real running of the snails. This guy at the beginning started too slow, and got bowled over and slimed. I can’t get the images out of my mind! I keep replaying them mentaly like a really bad slasher movie.” FSEN interviewed the victim in this near-catastrophe, Art Rittenhausen of Virginia, at his hospital room. “I’d trained hard with the biggest local snails I could find,” said Rittenhausen. “But these things here are really fast, and enormous. I just wasn’t ready, and then I tripped over this really big one, slid through a gooey slime trail, and had several of them slime me as they went by. It was kinda gross, but I’ll be okay. I plan on being at the escargot dinner tonight. I’ll do better next year, now that I know what to expect. If I can increase my speed by even a few millimeters a second, I’ll be able to keep up!”

Karl Mucosa, a spokesperson for event organizer “Out-Pace the Snail,” said the weather was perfect for snail racing: high 70’s and a light mist. This probably led to them being faster and more aggressive than normal. Plus it created ideal sliming conditions as the beasts moved rapidly along. Many runners struggled to keep up, and several fell as they were jostled by snails or slipped in slime trails.

The most serious injury occurred when Bill Bartalo of New York was “sandwiched” between two particularly large snails, lost his balance, and fell on another snail. The impact crushed the snail and broke several of Bartalo’s ribs, temporarily immobilizing him. But it could have been much worse, said Bartalo. “Lucky for me, most of the lumbering snails behind me reacted to their crushed buddy by swinging to the left or right and avoiding me. Otherwise I could have been trampled and slimed to death. The one close call was when a snail came along that seemed to hold me accountable for his pal’s death, and he became enraged and started attacking me. Fortunately, several runners intervened and fought him off while I could be rescued. People really care!”

“This was the first time we have held this event, and we’ve learned some lessons for next time,” said Mucosa, between bites of escargot and sips of his lager. “One thing we might do differently next time is to scatter a little sand at points along the race course to slow the snails down a bit. But overall, I call the “Running of the Snails” a big success.”

No snails or other animals were harmed in creating this account.

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