The Cops Can’t Catch Me

It wouldn’t be pleasant if you found yourself being chased through the streets by the police. Unfortunately, I can see this happening to myself. My friends, glancing out the window, surely would think, “Gosh, what did Jim do?”

I read a blog post in Running is Funny about races across the country that have a cops chasing criminals theme, including one next weekend in Debary, Florida called the Jail Break 5K. Officers from law enforcement agencies start the race two minutes after the rest of the field. Their goal is to catch up to as many runners as possible, who are encouraged to dress as prisoners. The agency jailbreak runcatching up with the most earns extra donations that go to charity.

When I read this, I thought it was a pretty neat idea. However some issues have since come to mind.

First, real prisoners are always looking to get out of jail. But one of the biggest drawbacks is how not to look like a prisoner running away from a jailbreak. A community doing a jailbreak fun run provides perfect cover.

Second, law enforcement loves events like this. They come in droves because it’s a stress-relief, let’s have a little fun, we love to play around while raising money for our favorite charity kind of thing. But when guards at the jail tell the custodian to keep an eye on things while they’re “out for a while,” you know the prisoners take notice.

When the prisoners make their break, sprinting out of jail en masse, passers-by, who believe they’ve come across the race course inadvertently, cheer them on. A few texts, tweets, and Facebook posts later, the streets are lined with spectators rooting for them. Meanwhile, as the real race starts, the participants are saddened by the apparent lack of interest and are unmotivated to run hard because no one’s there to cheer them on.

2 thoughts on “The Cops Can’t Catch Me

  1. Hi Jim- Do you think that runners have an unfair advantage in escaping authorities in comparison to the common criminal? There seems to be an excessive amount of themed races that focus on getting through complex obstacle courses. The Dirty Dash, Tough Mudder and the Color Me Rad 5K are all competitions that encourage running fast through extreme conditions. As these races gain popularity, do you see law enforcement having a harder time capturing the non-law abiding citizens who tend to participate in these events? Also, since these races could lead to a new breed of “super criminal,” should they eventually be outlawed?

    • I share your concerns, Diane. As runners become used to eluding the police in runs such as this, it emboldens them. Confident they won’t be caught, already in great physical condition and wearing capes! This is how super-criminals are made. Even though I’ve never entered a jail break run before, just my cape-wearing alone tempts me whenever I run past a bank. I’d be home with several thousand big ones before the police even received a call.

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