By Kara Blomquist
Run 2.2 miles. Eat 1.87 pounds of Gut Pak.
That is the challenge that some runners faced at the second annual Gut Pak Run on Saturday.
Two women and 20 men from Baylor and surrounding communities accepted that challenge, out of the 105 total participants, and ate a large gut pak while running the race.
The Gut Pak Run is a competitive eating race in which participants run from Baylor’s campus to Vitek’s BBQ, 1600 Speight Ave., eat a gut pak and run back to campus. The race benefits Mission Waco Mission World, a locally based organization that holds over 15 mission programs to serve the poor all over the world. The Freshman Class Council and the Baylor Triathlon Club worked together to organize the event.
Participants had the choice of eating a large or a small gut pak during the race. A gut pak consists of Fritos, cheese, chopped beef, beans, sausage, bread, pickles, onions and jalapenos. Last year, the small gut pak, which is 0.95 pounds, was the only option.
Teague senior Brad Gibson, a director of the Freshman Class Council, said the decision to add the large gut pak was easy to make.
“We did a survey after last year’s race, and everyone was like, ‘We need a large gut pack. We need it to be more competitive,’” he said. “We definitely decided right then because almost every single person that left a comment said that they wanted to do a large, and there were probably 30 to 50 people that said that.”
Michael Lamendola, Waco community member and race participant, ate a small gut pak this year but said he is tempted to try the large one at the next race.
“Now that I’ve survived the small one, I feel like there are bigger mountains to climb,” he said.
The racers were broken down into four categories: men’s large gut pak, women’s large gut pak, men’s small gut pak and women’s small gut pak. One-hundred-five people participated in the race. Twenty-two ate large gut paks, and 83 ate small ones.
The top three finishers in each category received a medal. Houston senior Blake Niccum took first place in the men’s large gut pak category. New Caney junior Ashley Eppinette won first place in the women’s large gut pak. Waco post-doctoral fellowship member Myles Werntz placed first in the men’s small gut pak. Colorado Springs, Colo., junior Joanna Guhl won first place in the women’s small gut pak.
The top finishers in each category and their times can be found at https://www.baylortriathlon.com/gut-pak-run.html.
Castle Rock, Colo., sophomore Andrew Watson, special events coordinator for the Baylor Triathlon Club, said he liked that the race brought the community together.
“It’s good because it’s not just for students,” he said. “The whole community can take part in it. So I think it’s just a fun thing, gets the community together for a good cause.”
Julie Vitek Keith, fourth-generation owner of Vitek’s BBQ, said the race connects Baylor and Vitek’s with the public.
“It’s a great relationship between Baylor and Vitek’s, and we’ve had such a long-going relationship in the community together,” she said. “So I think it’s just getting students involved in the community and benefiting locally.”
That is one of the main reasons the Freshman Class Council wanted the race to help Mission Waco, Gibson said.
The registration fees for the participants covered the costs of the race and provided funds for Mission Waco.
“We really wanted to benefit something locally,” he said. “We just thought they’d be great, something that we could not only raise money for but be involved with volunteering.”
Seth Dorrell, director of Mission World and volunteer director, said he is happy the race raises funds for Mission Waco Mission World.
“We’re honored that they’re going to support us,” he said.
Dorrell said the race appeals to a wide range of people.
“It’s definitely an interesting run,” he said. “It’s not something your normal run is. So I think it attracts people that I think aren’t necessarily hardcore athletes.”
Watson said he hopes the race continues to grow in the future.
“Hopefully we can just, each year, get it more popular, get more people interested, and ultimately raise more money for Mission Waco,” he said.