Readers! Did you hear about that marathon in south China last weekend? The one where, according to The Wall Street Journal, "medical workers performed first aid on participants more than 12,000 times, treating 10,000 muscle spasms and 1,700 sprains"?
And did you know that at least half of those injuries involved this man, identified as Jun Xiao, a 23-year-old systems analyst running his first marathon?
Friends call Jun "23 years old" and "a very, very unlucky dude."
Ha ha. Just kidding.
But those injuries were no joke. The WSJ's report says that such calamity at Chinese marathons isn't uncommon, "as inexperienced organizers scramble to host races – and inexperienced runners enthusiastically sign up to race them."
This inexperience can lead to some very poor decisions. For instance, the decision by organizers at last weekend's marathon to offer their runners bars of soap. That look like energy bars. With labels their runners couldn't read because they were in English.
Which, inevitably, led to this:
That's a photo of one such bar of soap, discarded after a runner took a bite and, presumably, threw it away in disgust.
Of course he did. Grape soap tastes awful.
Race directors, next time please think before selecting a soap to offer hungry participants. To help you make an informed decision, we sampled dozens of the latest offerings as well as some old standbys here at Dumb Runner headquarters. Here are our five favorites.
This "classic, simple bar" goes down easy, with a "nice mouth feel" and "clean finish." At four bucks for a 10-pack, it's also "easy on the wallet." Buy Here
2. Irish Spring Moisture Blast
Your palate will feel "clean as a whistle" after a few bites of this bar, which also does a fine job of keeping you hydrated thanks to its patented Hydrobeads®. At $11 per eight-pack, it's not cheap—but "you get what you pay for." Buy Here
3. Zest Ocean Breeze
Though one of our testers found this bar "a bit too zesty," the others were unanimous in their praise. After one bite of this "aptly named variety," one said, "I was transported to the Big Sur Marathon, running alongside the Pacific." Expect to pay $5 for a three-pack. Buy Here
4. Dr. Bronner All-One Hemp Peppermint
At $25 for a pack of six, this is by far the priciest soap we tested. But "Dr. Bronner has the cure for the mid-race munchies." Of all the available flavors, Peppermint was a clear favorite with our testers, who called it "refreshing" and "minty without being too soapy." Buy Here
5. Kiss My Face Pure Olive Oil
Kiss My Face? "More like stuff my face," said one tester who couldn't get enough of this bar's heart-healthy olive oil "without a lot of cloying fragrance" to get in the way. $4.50 for three bars. Buy Here