The 2014 New York City Hot Dog Challenge

How do you celebrate your birthday? I like to have a bunch of my crazy friends run 3 miles while eating hot dogs.

I started my day with an 18 mile run withe the team (Gotham City Runners). It was cold, but manageable. We had a pretty good turn out, most of whom were just in for a 10-12 mile jaunt. I needed to get some more miles in due to my upcoming early spring marathon.

Coming up the west side and entering the Park, snow started to fall. It was actually quite beautiful and I happen to love running while it’s snowing out as long as I’m not trudging through 2 feet of the stuff. Guess who we passed a few times? Ryan Hall.

I finished my 18 miles then booked it over to the apartment to get cleaned up for the New York Hot Dog Challenge.

Abbe went to do recon on the hot dog carts as we were worried the snow was going to deter a few from coming out. She called me later on as I was enroute, and just like snails after a rain storm, all the hot dog carts had come out to play! Game on.

We had a small turnout this year based on weather, but there was still $360 bucks to be won.


I explained the rules to a few newcomers and then the ‘start dog’ was saluted and they began eating.



First done and off running was Neal! Kevin, Juan and Matt6 followed shortly after. Cat, the only female competitor to show, had all the time in the world so she relished the moment. Ha, get it.

As I chased after the leaders ( I was to be lead ref) I realized that running 18 miles then chasing seasoned runners and Ironmen at breakneck pace was maybe a bad idea.


AT cart 2, on 59th and 5th Avenue it was anyone’s game. Juan finished slightly ahead and took off to cart 3, a block away. I was with him. As soon as he got his dog KB and Matt6 sprinted up, ordering their dogs. Juan seemed to know that this was his moment to make a move and he did.


He finished as they were maybe half way through and took off at a sub 6 pace down 5th. It looked like something out of a crime movie with the 2 of us running after each other, especially since I was wearing jeans and a black jacket.

At cart 4 Elizabeth caught up to us. She then sped ahead to the next area, ‘Dead Man’s Corner’ notorious for stopping competitors. As Juan and I followed I saw no sign of the others.

While at cart 5 and 6, it was amazing to watch Juan in action. He wasn’t talking and very focused. He also had a very interesting technique, which I will not share as that would be giving away trade secrets.


Once again, as we took off I saw no sign of any competitors.

Down at 6th Avenue and 46th Street he was about to enter ‘The Gauntlet.’ It was a straight shot to the finish from 6th Ave to 8th Ave that included 4 hot dogs, no easy feat.


When we hit 7th Ave (cart 8) Abbe caught up and so did Matt6! I got really excited at the thought of a photo finish, a first in New York Hot Dog Challenge races.


Juan wasn’t having it though and he set off to cart 9 with a fury. All the competitors were slowing down now.

Just as Juan was finishing dog 9 Matt6 came running up. It was going to depend on that 10th dog for sure. We took off to the final cart.

Once again, as Juan was finishing Matt6 arrived and began to eat.


Juan finished and we blasted down 46th Street towards Rudy’s.

As we arrived Juan high-fived the pig and felt the sting of Hot Dog Challenger glory. Matt6 came up around 2 minutes behind taking second place. Both had course PR’s with Juan’s breaking the course record by 3 minutes! KB came up shortly after noting that he had DNFd at dog 5.


We hung out for awhile outside, then poured into Rudy’s to celebrate and await Neal and Cat.

Neal, with his blue wig and Hawaiian shirt popped in about ten minutes or so after we had been in the bar. We were now following Cat’s progress and she had just finished the 10th dog and was on the homestretch. We went out to power arch her, but she came in and said in dismay, “I puked!” She still gets an A in my book, but rules are rules and she did not qualify for the female finisher prize, meaning Juan took home all $360!


Juan, being the good sportsman he is, did give Cat an undisclosed amount of the prize money.


We all stayed at Rudy’s until 5PM celebrating as the snow came down.


Thanks for everyone who came out to compete AND our volunteer refs AND all of our sponsors, especially Gotham City Runners! This is no easy race.