I will admit it: I am not a fan of working out. I do it because it’s good for me, and I generally feel better as a whole when I go to the gym regularly, but it’s not a thing I actively enjoy. I am especially not fond of running — which is why this woman who is currently going viral for having run a 10K by stopping at every taco place along the way is my new hero. Because sometimes — even if you are an actual runner — you just need to put your running shoes aside and eat a ton of tacos instead.
In a piece for Philadelphia-area news site Billy Penn with possibly the greatest headline I have ever seen — “I Did The Philly 10K Except I Walked It And Ate Every Taco Along The Way” — reporter/curator Anna Orso chronicled the epic quest she undertook at the end of August. Orso had actually planned to run the race properly; in an effort to save a few bucks on the registration fee (which is usually around $65 - $70, according to the Philly 10K website), she thought she would “wait until just a few days before the fourth annual run … to snag a bib from someone who’s bailing just before the race.” Alas, though, she later learned that she had already missed the bib transfer period; inquiries and transfers were required to be submitted by Aug. 4. What’s a would-be runner to do?
Come up with an alternate plan, of course. Which is exactly what Orso did: “I decided, screw that, I’ll complete my own Philly 10K and spend my time doing something far better than the perpetually-overrated activity that is running: Eating tacos,” she wrote. And, honestly, the resulting piece she wrote about the experience has the added bonus of being one of the most comprehensive restaurant reviews I’ve ever read. Unorthodox? Perhaps. Effective? YEP.
Given that the publication date on the Billy Penn piece is Aug. 25 and the Philly 10K occurred on Aug. 27 (check out the full results here), it’s unlikely that Orso did her Philly 10K Taco Run/Walk during the actual race (unless she has also invented a time machine which is fueled entirely by tacos); she did, however, map out the 10K’s official 6.2-mile course, locating 13 taco joints that were either on it or a block or two away from it, and use that as the map for her own event. What’s more, she’s made it publicly available on Google Maps, so if you would like to recreate Orso’s “race,” that is a dream you can make come true. Find it here.
In any event, Orso made her quest at 11:25 in the morning and finished up at 4:15 in the afternoon. Since most Mexican restaurants sell tacos in orders of three, Orso generally ate one taco of every order and gave the other two away. There were a few exceptions; she ate two tacos at two stops, ate one whole taco plus the meat of another at a few others, and on one occasion, straight-up threw out two tacos of a three-taco order. (Orso described these rejected tacos as “horrible,” “the worst,” and “not even worth subjecting someone else to.”) Despite this one misadventure, however, she seems to have found a number of good spots; highlights included the steak tacos at Mexicana Foto El Trompo Loco, the brisket tacos at Iztaccihuatl, the tilapia tacos at Quetzally, and — somewhat unexpectedly — the tacos al pastor at South Philly Pizza. (Orso had to stop here twice; the first time, it was closed.)
Sometime around the 3.5 -to 4-mile mark, however, things started to go somewhat south. At this point, wrote Orso, “I’m starting to get fatigued. …I cut up 12th Street and am starting to regret being so overzealous at the beginning of this endeavor. I realize the fancier Mexican places are coming up soon, and I imagine myself throwing up at El Vez. What will they do?” By mile 4.6, it was worse: At Lolita, Orso wrote, “I’m not sure what it really tastes like because I can’t feel anymore.” She also didn’t take a picture of these tacos; “my brain isn’t working anymore,” she wrote. “I am so ill.”
But she persevered. She pushed onward. She did not throw up. And she finished the day at South Philly Pizza — the place at which she had previously been thwarted by a “CLOSED” sign — overly full, but having completed something dubiously extraordinary.
Although Orso’s taco walk/run was by no means an official event (and although it’s not recommended that one actually run on a stomach full of 10+ tacos; Orso probably would have thrown up if she had tried) — but it’s worth noting that a variety of 5K, 10K, and 15K alternatives do exist that put a fun spin on footraces — especially if you, like myself, aren’t particularly fond of running. There are color runs, of course, as well as Tough Mudder events; these have become fairly common in the marathon world these days. As Minq points out, though, events like zombie runs (where you’re chased by a pack of actors playing zombies), “Electric Runs” (which look kind of like a cross between a marathon and a family-friendly rave to me), and hot chocolate runs (participants have a steaming mug of hot chocolate waiting for them at the finish line) also pop up from time to time — and they’re usually a blast, even if races aren’t normally your thing.
And, you know what? There’s nothing wrong with not running a marathon, either. Or with running a marathon, and then treating yourself to a bunch of tacos afterward. Do both. Do neither. Just know that, whatever you do, tacos will always support you in your endeavor.
I highly, highly recommend checking out Orso’s entire piece — it’s hilariously written and a triumph of the human spirit. (OK, maybe not that last part, but it is laugh-out-loud funny.) Head over to Billy Penn to read it — and next time you’re in Philly, maybe think about stopping at one of its numerous taco places. Anna Orso can probably offer a few recommendations.