Credit: Ilana Wurman / The Daily Pennsylvanian
It took almost two weeks for runner Blake Claras to cross the finish line-- a new record in his event, the 10,000-meter run. The record, unfortunately, is for the slowest recorded time. When he finished, he was the only person still participating in a Penn Relays event.
Claras, a rising junior at the University of Northern North Carolina, began the race on the morning of April 27th in Franklin Field. He finished at 12:44 pm on May 9th, stopping the timer at slightly more than 12 days.
On his way to completing the 10,000-meter race (equivalent to two 5k races, or about 6.2 miles), Claras says that he tried to make a quick pit stop, but ended up getting sidetracked.
"I left the track a few minutes into the race to use the bathroom, because I'd forgotten to go beforehand and I drank a lot of water, but I couldn't find the bathroom and just wandered around for a while. I ended up leaving the stadium and used the bathroom in some science building nearby, where I ran into some friends who go to Penn. I crashed with them for like a week, exploring the city, you know, and then I visited my cousin at Villanova for a bit. I even came back to Penn after that and stayed with my friends for a few more nights, and I still didn't realize my mistake. I guess I forgot I was running a race," Claras told us.
When he realized that he'd forgotten to finish the race, Claras said, he was shocked and dismayed. "I was floored when my buddy texted me around 11:45 or something this morning to ask me how the race went. I was like, oh, great question. Shit!"
The runner then hurried back to Franklin Field from the Radian, where he had been staying, and completed the remaining distance, more than five and a half miles, alone. His time, from the Radian to the finish line, would have set a new record had he not wasted 12 days.
When asked why Claras wasn't disqualified, a Penn Relays official shrugged. "We really only disqualify people if they're cheating or doing something to help them get ahead. This kid somehow managed to add 12 days to his time, and that doesn't really hurt anyone else."
Claras said he's looking forward to next year's Penn Relays, where he hopes to shave a few days off his time. "The good news is that there's a lot of room for improvement," he said.