Monday, February 25, 2013

2013 Umstead Marathon Mascotology

Here we are again, only a few days away from the 2013 Umstead Marathon.

Beginners Guide
For those unfamiliar with the race, every year there is a different animal "mascot".
The mascot adorns the website, the shirts, and the finishers pint glasses for that year's race. Also, the top 15 male and female finishers receive a handmade wooden plaque in the shape of that animal.

The mascot is chosen by a bizarre and shadowy ritual known as the Umstead Conclave.  See here for details. The choice is kept in absolute secrecy until Friday, the day before race.

But we here at Running-Down are Umstead Mascotology experts and read the tell-tale signs to accurately predict what the mascot will be.

Adding further excitement to this year's mascot is that this is the 10th anniversary of the race. Anonymous sources have hinted that it will be "something special", and that "We will never be able to guess". We shall see...

Here is the chronology of the mascots so far:
  1. 2004 - Horse fly
  2. 2005- Flying squirrel
  3. 2006- Turtle
  4. 2007- Fish
  5. 2008- Turkey vulture
  6. 2009- Frog
  7. 2010- Hare
  8. 2011 - Tick
  9. 2012 - Bat
  10. 2013 - ????

Track Record
Running-Down has been making the calls as to not only what the mascot will be, but also what it should be. We have accurately predicted the mascot 1 out of 3 times.
On the matter of what it should have been, we were right 100% of the time.

YearShould have beenPredictionActualPrognosticator
2010DeerOpossum (see post)Hare?
2011OpossumDeer (see post)TickJosh
2012OpossumBat (see post)BatRunning-Down! 

The Rubric
This year I will be ranking the potential mascots along the according to the following categories:
  • Presence:  How often is the animal seen in Umstead?
  • Inevitability: Given what has come before, does this belong with the list?
  • Decennialality: Does it celebrate the 10th anniversary?
  • Cool Factor: How likely will it be for someone to come up to you and say "Cool Shirt!"
  • Intangibles: Anything else
Each category will be ranked with a score of 1-10, and added up for a final score.

The Candidates
We took submissions from facebook, and here are the nominees.

Submitted By Scott, et al.
PresenceYes, quite a bit7
InevitabilitySeems like this is way down the list of priority2
DecennialalityUnless they did something with the wing pattern, not much2
Cool Factor
"Come my lady. Come, come my lady. You're my butterfly. My sugar baby." 3
Scott saw one in Umstead this past weekend. A sign?10

Total Score24

Great Blue Heron
Submitted By Kristine Pryzgoda
PresenceIn the lakes, sure.8
InevitabilityYes, but not for a while5
Cool Factor
With the wings spread out, it wouldn't be too bad5
I think it is too soon after the Turkey Vulture10

Total Score28

Submitted By Scott
PresenceAaaa!! They are everywhere!!!8
InevitabilityYes, sooner or later. This one won't be a surprise at all12
DecennialalityHmmmm. Maybe they could hide the past mascots in the pattern on the scales?3
Cool Factor
This is a safe choice by the conclave.8

Total Score41

Submitted By Shannon, Josh 
PresenceUm, no.0
InevitabilityNot really2
Cool Factor
Would make a cool shirt, but an awful plaque. 6
Yes, a ten tentacled cephalopod would be popular with the kids, but let's be adults here.  0

Total Score18

10 Point Buck
Submitted By Heiko 
PresenceQuick, name the last animal you've seen in Umstead. Yeah, that's right, a Deer. 15
Inevitability  Again, a certain faction of the conclave is adamantly against a Deer since it previously was the mascot of the Uwharrie Mountain Run. But COME ON that was years ago!6
DecennialalityThe 10-point Buck idea is brilliant, but maybe a little too subtle8
Cool Factor
A deer isn't intimidating, but it is majestic6
Plaque would be difficult to carve.3

Total Score38

Swarm of 10 Horse Flies
Submitted By Brian Tajlili 
PresenceIn the summer, they are omnipresent10
Inevitability  They already did the Horse Fly in year one. Would they bring it back?3
DecennialalityAbsolutely. Ten Horse Flies is a great celebration, bringing back the original.10
Cool Factor
One fly on a shirt is great. Ten flies and people will be keeping their distance from you.3
There's already a horse fly on the back of every shirt. Maybe too many flies?5

Total Score31


Submitted By Josh
Cool Factor
Someone got beat up a lot in high school0

Total Score0

The Nine Part Decennial Hybrid Beast
Submitted By Shannon
PresenceIt may be lurking in deep in the forest...3
InevitabilityIt's either this year, or never2
DecennialalityThe ultimate 10 year mascot. A combination of all 9 past years.20
Cool Factor
Disturbing? Yes! Cool? No.2
Would be the worst plaque ever. It would be nothing but pipe cleaners1

Total Score28

Other submissions:

Owl - Iris Suttcliffe.
Coyote- Steph Jefferies. 
Dung Beetle - Debs Springer. 
Horse Manure - Jim Wei

Finally, the official Running-Down pick for 
the 2013 Umstead Marathon Mascot is... 

Drum roll, please...


Submitted By AC
PresenceOh, yes. I saw this one perched in a tree just outside of Umstead last year. He told me things...10
InevitabilityThe Conclave cannot deny me forever10
Decennialality10 toes on the front feet. What could be more special for the 10th? NOTHING10
Cool Factor
With snarling teeth? Oh yes. And that rat tail? Oh yeah. And just for Shannon, let's throw in glow in the dark eyes. Would be the best shirt, plaque, and glass ever.10
I know they have been purposefully NOT picking the Opossum just to spite me.
And they know that I know that.
So that's why they think they can sneak it past me this year without me picking it.
HA! But I know that they know that I know. That's how I know.

Total Score50

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