When Boston Marathon runners cross the Copley Square finish line next Monday and sponge the diarrhea off their thighs, Will Thomas and Seth Bradbury will have even more to celebrate than their fellow soiled athletes.
Unlike most in the pack, these self-proclaimed "EpicMen" will have begun their journey way before the start line in Hopkinton. By the time they reach their afterparty at the Rattlesnake on Boylston Street, Bradbury and Thomas will have traveled 163 miles by kayak, bike, and foot, and already toasted over beers in two other states.
As sporting events go, those organized by the Maine-based group Urban Epic are the green movement's response to NASCAR. This weekend's two-dude EpicMan — which begins on Peaks Island in Maine, then crashes through pubs in Portland, Portsmouth (New Hampshire), and eventually Boston — will yield no carbon footprint and droves of drunken onlookers.
"There are a few reasons that we're doing this, but mainly it's to promote Will's company, Urban Epic, which also hosts triathlons in Portland and Boston this summer," says Bradbury. "The whole theme of what they do is to create a sort of anti-race with festivals and beer and music — the opposite of those nerdy spandex-y events that you usually think of."
While their cheerleaders are sure to have intoxicating good times along the way, Seth and Will still face a daunting physical reality. As such, in the past few months — since they qualified for Boston by running the Berlin Marathon (which not-coincidentally coincides with Oktoberfest) — the EpicMen have undergone (and blogged about) a rigorous regimen that's included treadmill runs, back massages, fish-oil treatments, and the consideration of fat burning underwear.
"We're so behind in training," says Bradbury, "but this whole thing is about living life to the fullest. We just got the e-mail the other day that we got some kayaks, and it reminded me that the last time I was on a kayak was three or four years ago. Everyone who hears about this asks what the hell we're doing, and the truth is that we don't really know."
Since EpicMan begins in one Phoenix city (Portland) and concludes in another (Boston), we'll be dispatching staffers to Ri Ra and the Rattlesnake to interview Will and Seth. This should be interesting; hell hath no beer buzz like the beer buzz you catch after three miles of kayaking and a marathon on hoof. Check ThePhoenix.com for reports and video, as well as theepicman.com for live coverage.