There’s a certain poetry even to the prerace information regarding the third annual Brunswick Fast Food Challenge. “All participants will park in the Wal-Mart lot next to Pizza Hut.”

The 2.54-mile tour du Cook’s Corner eateries on and a little bit off Old Bath Road is scheduled for 12:30 p.m. on Sunday, Aug. 12. It’s a cash-on-the-barrelhead-only event ($20), because the volunteers/servers need the money to go on ahead and buy the goodies for the racers to consume at each stop.

“Picky eaters, the health conscious and the weak of stomach, steer clear!” as the race website — — warns.

Entrants — the field is capped at 40 — must sign a waiver, in part because the small-scale event does not provide traffic control. Here’s the menu/course:

Start at Pizza Hut, with a slice from a large, stuffed-crust pepperoni pizza.

First stop, Wendy’s, for value-sized chicken nuggets.

At the half-mile mark: McDonald’s, one small fry. (An order, not a single miserable fry.)

Then Taco Bell, to down a soft taco.

The summit (gastronomically, roughly equivalent to the Newton hills on this flat course): Fat Boy Drive-In. Whoperburger incoming. “The mayo is BACK this year,” race officials sound pleased to advise.

On to Burger King. Value-size onion rings, please.

And finally, sweetly, the finish, at Cold Stone Creamery. One “Like It”-sized chocolate ice cream in a dish. First to finish the ice cream wins.

A penalty “lap” — you have to chase the ice cream with a pair of Twinkies — is imposed on anybody unable to contain their food but still wishing to finish. Rules include no eating while you’re running, or you’ll be disqualified. The calories total about 2,300. (The Twinkies would add another 300.)

At Fat Boy, the landmark drive-in that opened in 1955, owner/manager Jeanne Burton applauds the runners’ fortitude. She was outside watching the race in 2010.

“We’re all for running and the competitive spirit,” said Burton, who runs recreationally but doesn’t do races. “We also have people come here on scavenger hunts, or looking for a ‘treasure box’ hidden on the property.

“Hats off to the gentlemen who invented the race! We’re honored that they chose us.”

That would be Rob Gomez of Saco and Jeff Sprague of Portland (who dominated the July 4 Around Mount Desert Island Relay, winning 7 of 9 legs in the 62-mile race while competing as Two-Man Wolfpack.) Their inspirations include the Krispy Kreme Challenge, a North Carolina 4-miler in which racers down a dozen doughnuts halfway.

Gomez also won the inaugural Challenge, in 18 minutes, 15 seconds.

That’s the course record; Tom Norton’s winning time last year was 22:06. Sheri Piers of Falmouth (hope you noticed that she was top female master at the Peachtree 10K in Atlanta on July 4, in 34:38) set the women’s record of 33:16 in 2010 and defended her title last year, running 39:38.

Gomez plans to both direct and race, along with Sprague.

Another 2011 competitor was Darren Winchenbach. Normally his name is high up in the race results, and his 2012 season includes a 19:52 victory at the Brandon Feyler Memorial 5K, in Winchenbach’s hometown of Waldoboro. And at 6-foot-2, 190 pounds, he’s robust, as runners go. But at the Challenge last August, he was 17th of 22 finishers, in 48:46.

“Luckily, I didn’t get sick,” he reflected the other day. “Some people did, at about the halfway point.”

Winchenbach, 30, liked the race but figures that once was enough.

“If you’re an eater, you’ll love it,” he said. “But I found out that weekend that I’m not an eater. I’m always up to try something different, but I’ll stick to the ‘straight’ races for now.”

If you are made of stern stuff and not a food snob, by all means take up the Challenge. In keeping with Gomez and Sprague’s vision, “It’s a fun getaway from the usual week-to-week racing grind.” 

THE TD BANK Beach to Beacon 10K, in Cape Elizabeth on Saturday, Aug. 4, still needs volunteers, in the medical tent and elsewhere, including parking and for the kids run on Friday night.

Volunteers can sign up at For helping out, you get a tech T-shirt and an invitation to the party for volunteers — which could be quite a party, considering that more than 800 volunteers are needed for the event. 

John Rolfe of Portland is a staff writer and a road runner. He can be reached at 791-6429 or at:

[email protected]