Run Free 2013 was this past Saturday. Over 1000 runners from 24 countries around the world joined together for an online race of pure ridiculousness. Hundreds and hundreds of pictures, posts, and tweets came in, ranging from the serious to the silly.

Over the next few days, we’ll be sharing some of our favorite photos, recounting some cool stories from the race, and announcing the winners of our medal contest. But today, we want to share just two pictures with you that sum up the event for us. 

1. If you’ve been following Run Free 2013 at all, the name Samantha Golden probably rings a bell. Samantha (aka @insearchofoz on Twitter and Instagram) was far and away the most involved participant from day one. She pulled together the largest team (21 ladies!), posted dozens of pictures before, during, and after the race, and engaged with others on social media via the #runfreerace hashtag.

Samantha took our idea and ran with it (pun intended), truly making the race her own.

When it came time to give away the top ten times, our friends at Groupon knew right away who deserved number 1: Samantha Golden.

But we didn’t just want to email her to give her the good news. That would be lame. So instead, we spent time facebook-snooping, messaging her friends to try to find out how we could get a hold of her on race day.

It paid off. The night before the race we finally got in touch with someone who gave us the number where we could reach Samantha. We called her just after the race on Saturday.

“Hey Samantha! This is Team!” we said.

“Oh, hey!” she said, sounding a bit surprised.

“How’s the race coming along?” we asked.

“Great!” she said. “I just finished, actually. I’ve been training really hard and it paid off with a great time!” she laughed.

“Actually, that’s what we’re calling about. We wanted to congratulate you on winning the race!” we said.

“What?!” she said.

 “You took first place!” we said. “Congratulations! You’ve earned it!”

We talked for a little bit, then let her get back to her post-race recovery celebration. A few minutes later, she posted this picture. Apparently one of her friends had snapped it while she was on the phone with us.


Our champion receives news of her victory!

Our champion receives news of her victory!

Not to get too sappy on you, but this is why we do what we do. Because of our silly little ridiculous idea, Samantha made great memories with friends old and new, won a fake race, and had a ton of fun. And we got to be a part of it.



2. The second picture is a little sillier, but still awesome.

As some of you know, the idea for Run Free was birthed during a discussion with one of my friends who is a runner. He wanted me to run a real marathon, and I jokingly said “People don’t like running marathons. They like being able to say that they ran one.” That spawned an idea which got pitched to the rest of Team, and the whole thing snowballed from there.

My friend followed the development of the race with interest, but refused to sign up on principle. His wife, however, loved the idea and registered for the race, much to his chagrin.

Saturday night, I got this text from him:

(Names have been obscured to protect the innocent)

(Names have been obscured to protect the innocent)

To be honest, with all of the crazy pictures you guys posted (which were awesome, by the way), we figured “There’s no way anyone will believe this thing is real.”

We thought the initial premise had gone out the window in a rush of ridiculousness. But in fact, something more ridiculous had happened: It turned out we were right all along.

People DIDN’T take two seconds to Google our silly race. They accepted it as real. We’re not sure if that’s frightening or fantastic or a little of both, but it’s certainly fascinating.

Over the next few days we’ll be posting more pictures, the winners of our medal contest, and more. Stay tuned. And stay ridiculous.


What were your favorite race moments?

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