With the Iowa caucuses less than a week away, 2016 presidential hopefuls from both parties are in the state, scrambling to shore up support and win as many hearts and minds as possible.
Usually this takes the form of public appearances, phone calls and texts, and posing for selfies with supporters. Two leading candidates, however, are taking a slightly different approach. Donald Trump and Bernie Sanders will prove their mettle by facing off in a 5000m race on an indoor track.
Trump, the GOP firebrand, and Sanders, a self-described democratic socialist, say they will meet "sometime this weekend" to lace up their racing flats and "tear it up" before a crowd of likely voters.
"I am in incredibly good health," Mr. Trump declared at a rally Tuesday morning in Cedar Rapids, announcing the upcoming competition with Sanders. "My health is just super. Out of this world. My doctor can't stop talking about it. He's a great guy, by the way, everyone loves him. Works at Lenox Hill Hospital. Very highly respected facility."
Later, speaking with reporters as he urinated on them from a hotel balcony, Trump predicted he would not only beat Sanders but would smash the world record in the process.
"What is it? Twelve minutes-something?" Trump said. "I can do that. Easy. No problem. It's going to make people's heads spin. Did I mention I'm in excellent health? Also that my poll numbers are through the roof? Have you seen these numbers? It's amazing. This balcony is great, by the way. Incredible hotel. Westin. Very classy operation. Good people."
"I'll build a wall on that track," Trump said as he zipped up and returned to his room. "A wall of pain. And I'll get Bernie to pay for it."
For his part, Sanders seemed annoyed.
"Look," the Vermont Senator told a throng of supporters outside a diner in Glenwood, a town of 5,000 in the southwestern part of the state. "I know what's at stake here. And it isn't just a trophy or a ribbon or whatever it is they'll be handing out. What's at stake here is serious. Okay? What's at stake here is the future of this nation. The fact is, we are all in a 5000-meter race, okay? We are all in a 5000-meter race. It's a race for our livelihoods, for our children, and our children's children. A race for the fabric of our democracy. And the reality is that, for 99.9% of us—99.9%!—we are starting the race a full 1200 meters behind the leaders. And we're doing it wearing high top basketball shoes. And by the way? They're not even name brand shoes. They're those generic-looking ones, like from Wal-Mart. Which, I might add, still is not paying its workers nearly enough, while it makes billions in profit."
"What? Will I win?" a visibly perturbed Sanders asked, repeating a reporter's question. "Who knows! I think I will. I might. We'll see."
"I'm thirsty," he added.
Vegas oddsmakers are favoring Sanders by almost 2-to-1 in the footrace, citing his PR of 4:37 for the mile, set when he was in high school, though some counter that the aerodynamic swoop of Trump's hair could give him the edge.
Rumors of a similar matchup, featuring Hillary Clinton and Texas Senator Ted Cruz in a steel cage match at Des Moines' Wells Fargo Arena, could not be confirmed.