The sonorous Irish comedian Ardal O’Hanlon once did a bit in which, and I’m paraphrasing (but I could have just as easily ripped this off because the internet is Thunderdome, so YOU’RE WELCOME), he explained very soberly that the words “fun” and run” should never be used next to each other in a sentence because running is something you do when someone is chasing you with a knife. Zombie-themed running events have capitalized on this faux-terror running motivation, but perhaps no race concept has done more to seem real-world scary (and also seem to not at all realize it) than Skirt Chaser, a really, really stupid-sounding 5K with one simple theme: female runners eluding male pursuers.
Skirt Chaser 5K is a thing that definitely exists in the world. It has sponsors (PowerBar), official merchandise, race locations spanning the North American continent, and a promotional video set to Flo Rida’s exercise anthem, “Good Feeling.” Participants seem to be enjoying themselves as they turn the slowly revolving Earth into their own 5K treadmill. The “fun, flirty Skirt Chaser 5K race series” race was launched in 2007 not by a dude-bro touting a shaky cam and a lascivious dream, but by a woman named Nicole DeBoom, winner of the 2004 Ironman Wisconsin and inventor of “the world’s first-ever women’s fitness skirt”. Nothing about this race seems mean-spirited or malicious, people seem to enjoy it, and DeBoom seems to be doing well. So, what’s the big deal?