After the cancellation of the New York City marathon, you might consider participating in a race that takes considerably less effort and resources. One that has all all of the trappings of a real race–medals, commemorative t-shirts, photos of agonized athletes–everything except actual running.
You see, Run Free 2013 isn’t an actual marathon, but a carefully constructed internet facsimile of one. Sign up for the “race” and you’ll get a package in the mail containing your race program, bib number, and t-shirt, which you’ll dutifully tweet and Instagram photos of, of course, all using the #RunFree hashtag. I’ll let the marathon’s organizers take it from here:
Then, on race day, you’ll throw on some running shorts and a t-shirt, pin on your racing bib number, and take a picture. Then you’ll post something to Facebook like “Getting ready for the race!” And you’ll tag the RunFree page in the post.. Then you can go back to sleep for awhile, or check your email, or eat a donut.
The whole thing is ostensibly a comment on the “pics or it didn’t happen” mentality of the web, which sorta reflexively says that as long as you have pictures of something, it’s 100% certified real (sorta like those all those fake photos that floated around after Hurricane Sandy).
The endgame, it seems, is to simply gauge people’s responses to the fake race. “What kind of event will people think this is?” goes the Run Free Kickstarter page. “Will they buy into it being real, even when a quick Google search will tell them it’s not? How far will participants take it? But most of all, how many photographs does it take to make a fake marathon real?”
“Registration” is $25, and includes number bib, registration packet, bracelet, and race t-shirt. According to the Kickstarter, over 450 participants have signed up so far.