Two miles, two hot dogs, one soda - the Crazy Caniac Challenge. That is what kicked off the 10th Annual Caniac Carnival held at the RBC Center this past Sunday, September 20. Nearly 100 runners came out for the first ever Crazy Caniac Challenge bright and early, trying to win the first-place prize of two 12-game plans and other prizes including team-signed jerseys and autographed items. From serious runners to Caniacs dressed up in costumes to kids running hand-in-hand with their parents, this was a race for all ages and all skill levels.
The Challenge consisted of running one lap around the RBC Center, eating two hot dogs and drinking one soda, then running one more lap around the RBC Center; a total of two miles. Sound daunting? Each runner seemed to have his or her own way of devouring their food fast enough to run their last lap before indigestion hit (two hot dogs at once, dogs first and then the buns, or alternating bites of hot dog and sips of soda).
Carolina Hurricanes staff (myself included) even did a “test run” of the Crazy Caniac Challenge to see what the actual competitors would be up against, and though we could feel the hot dogs sinking into the pits of our stomachs as we began our second lap around the RBC Center, some of us found ourselves wanting another hot dog after we finished. Of course we couldn’t give away any tips that we discovered ahead of time (such as burping while you run), but we definitely had faith in the runners signed up for race day!
Our first-place finisher was Joe Lust, who completed the race in a remarkable 13 minutes and 47 seconds. Close behind in second place was Dan Mueller, finishing just ten seconds later; the speed demons were battling it out the entire race. Jim Clabuesch was in third place, finishing off our adult category. For the 14 and under category, Dylan Perry came in first place in just 17 minutes and 7 seconds, followed by John Wells and Nathan Kanning, finishing second and third, respectively. Asked if they would do it again, all said yes!
Finishing with smiles on their faces, the runners said they were looking forward to training for next year’s race so that they could enter again and get their family and friends to join in too. The only one seeming to struggle with the run was Stormy, who barely made it across the finish line, and he didn’t even eat the hot dogs! The first Crazy Caniac Challenge was a blast for all of those involved and we are looking forward to a bigger and better race next year. Maybe it wasn’t “crazy” enough with just two hot dogs and one soda…
The 10th Annual Caniac Carnival also had a number of inflatables, rides and games as well as street hockey, a live band, the American Red Cross Blood Mobile and even a Red Bull TNT Freestyle Motocross show for fans to enjoy. The RBC Bank autograph session was an exciting opportunity for 1,000 lucky Caniacs who were first in line to receive wristbands to see their favorite players up close.
The Caniac Carnival ended with select players and coaches addressing the fans before a hard-hitting open practice. John Forslund interviewed Coach Paul Maurice and Hurricanes players Scott Walker and Tuomo Ruutu, asking about last year and their thoughts about the upcoming season.
Following the open practice, 20 kids randomly selected from the stands went down onto the ice to have their photo taken with the entire team. As the lucky kids stood behind the boards, eager to go on the ice with just a few minutes left of practice, you could see the excitement in their eyes to stand next to their favorite players. The smiles on their faces were as big as their love for Hurricanes hockey.