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Runners can be uber serious when it comes to chasing PRs, finding a perfect running shoe, or shooting for the moon in a race. But running can, and should be, fun as well. Keira D’Amato, arguably in the best running season of her life, is still focused on keeping both the run and fun in her life.
When D’Amato and her husband learned about the Great American 5000 Challenge, a team-based miles challenge, “Anthony and I got into another one of our debates,” says D’Amato. “What if I had a team of 12 elite marathon women (Team Studs) and he had a team of 24 underdogs (think everything from Dad Bods to Walking Grannies, lovingly named Team Slugs), who would win?”
And so was born the challenge. The goal? To be the first team to cumulatively run the 5,000K that marks the distance between San Francisco and New York City. What started as a pandemic spousal challenge, the Studs/Slugs showdown is now onto its third year. D’Amato recently announced this year’s 12-woman pro team for the virtual “race” on Instagram with some on-point unofficial bios. This team of pros will go head to head with Team Slugs, a team of 24 non-pro athletes, created by her husband, Anthony.
D’Amato shares, “With my return to running, I’ve been leaning into new challenges and goals that excite me. The Great American 5000 race excites me. Forming a team of some of the fiercest runners in America to take down my husband and his buds. Sign me up for that.”
The Results of the Studs vs. Slugs Races So Far
Team Slugs has taken the crown two years in a row, and so the year 2022 represents the chance for Team Studs to raise their game in the virtual race to New York City.
- 2020: Year 1 – Slugs won
- 2021: Year 2 – Slugs won… again
- 2022: Year 3 – “I’ve recruited the fiercest Studs and I can assure you, none of these ladies like losing,” says D’Amato.
Speaking of this year’s race, D’Amato jokes, “I know you should always keep your mother-in-law on your good side, but my mother-in-law is on my husband’s team, The Slugs. I’m not afraid of taking her down, even if she is the world’s best babysitter, if you are a Slug, you’re going down!”
Slightly more seriously, she shares, “With my return to running, I’ve been leaning into new challenges and goals that excite me. The Great American 5000 race excites me. Forming a team of some of the fiercest runners in America to take down my husband and his buds. Sign me up for that!”
Meet Team Studs
The tongue-in-cheek descriptions of each women D’Amato posted are worth taking the time to read. Some of our favorites:
- Team leader and instigator of Team Studs, the twelve women who will take on the twenty four member Team Slugs in a race across America.
- Sara Hall eats coconuts without removing the shell.
- There are no streets named after Sara Hall because no one would never cross Sara Hall.
- Jacky “Hurt”-Broersma once hit a huge rock with her golf club. We now call it the Moon.
- Jacky Hurt-Broersma is the reason Waldo is hiding.
- Dakotah Lindwurm once wrestled a bear, alligator, shark, and tiger all at once. She won by tying them together with an anaconda.
- Speaking of “ties,” Dakotah Lindwurm HATED ties. She prefers wins instead.
- If paper beats rock, rock beats scissors, and scissors beats paper, what beats all 3 at the same time? Camille Herron.
- Camille Herron’s trash throws itself out.
- Nell Rojas can tie her running shoes with her feet.
- Well Nell Rojas looks into a mirror, the mirror shatters. Not even glass is dumb enough to get between Nell Rojas and Nell Rojas.
- Emma Bates is so fast, she can run around the world and fix her ponytail herself.
- Emma Bates can have both feet on the ground and kick butt at the same time.
- When Emily Sisson runs around the track, the track gets in shape.
- Emily Sisson doesn’t worry about the gas prices rising because her car runs on fear.
- Aliphine Tuliamuk stands faster than anyone can run.
- Do you know how many miles Aliphine Tuliamuk can run? All of them.
- Des Linden doesn’t wear a running watch, Des Linden decides what pace she is running and what time it is.
- The only time Des Linden was ever wrong is when she thought she had made a mistake.
- MC Hammer learned the hard way that Molly Seidel can touch this.
- In Spain, the people may be running from the bulls, but the bulls are running from Molly Seidel.
- Emily Infeld has a robust vocabulary, knowing every word in the dictionary except ‘mercy.’
- Emily Infeld once won the Tour de France… on foot.
Team Slugs won’t be left out—and their bios are dishing back the lively talk.
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You can track the Studs and Slugs (and other teams competing) here. The two Slugs teams currently have a lead on the Studs.
Want to Run as a Slug?
If you’re in need of adding some fun back into your running, create your own team of 24 (or 12) runners and give Team Studs a run for their figurative money. You can join your own Team Slugs and try to take down Team Studs in The Great American 5000.
The rules are simple: From June 18 onward (you can register until June 30), input the miles you run every day and watch your team move from state to state on the map. Each team has until September 10 to complete the 5,000-kilometer trek—that’s as few as 33.7 miles per day for your team (1.4 for each individual)! Run, walk, hike—it all counts. And you might be able to say to beat the elites.