I’m not sure how often this mockery is made amongst men’s running groups, but I am pretty sure it is hardly ever meant in a literal sense. Until now.
Now, Joe Campanelli (JC #2, after the one-and-only JC McCoolis) is no pansy. In fact, anyone who knows him would argue that he is one of the most fearless, gruelling and dedicated runners out there. But for someone whose easy weeks are 100 miles + and whose idea of a regular interval workout is 12x1.9k w/30s rest starting at marathon pace and ending at 5k race pace, he has some remarkably soft and feminine qualities. This idea was confirmed as fact on Monday evening, when I saw him prance and dance through Churchill in a tiny (and I mean TINY), skin tight, leg bearing and blushingly sexy summer dress.
There have been indications that Joe is in touch with his feminine side. After his pitiful beer mile performance earlier this summer, where he nursed his beers and ran whimpily around the track four times, finishing in some ridiculously slow time that is too long for me to accurately remember, he was officially dubbed by Jose Carvalho (JC #3) to be a “girl.” Joe (henceforth known as ‘Josephine’) also once sported long, rapunzel-like golden locks, which along with his slight, girlish figure, did give him a feminine appearance (albeit a young one). Josephine may not have been comfortable with these soft qualities, thus his hair was quickly shed and his masculinity assured by his aggressive training regime and surprisingly high alcohol tolerance (when not combined with running). However, this facade was to be imminently compromised.
Josephine sipping on his beer
I have long been waiting for the day that Josephine womaned-up and wore a dress to practice. Not because I fancied him my new flamboyant boy-liking friend, but because this was all based on a bet between him and JC #3 that must have stemmed some two years ago. Though these two ‘men’ both competed for the U of T varsity squad together until 2007, Josephine continued with his 100-mile weeks post-collegiately, while JC #3 gave outdoor track one final go before packing in his competitive running career in 2008. Jose, being the 800m/1500m talent that he is, has always had speed in his legs, and has come back to the track multiple times to reclaim his crown as the beer miling champion of Toronto. He has even run in the low 2-minutes for the 800m AFTER chugging 4 beers in 6 minutes and off a training regime of little running, 80-hour work weeks and zero workouts. Josephine, being the slow-twitch (I am told even this is an understatement?) marathoner that he is, has a 1500m PB of 4:06 but hardly slows as the distance increases. So, the year is 2010. The race is a 1500m showdown. Who wins? Josephine, the slower-twitch – but incredibely fit and determined – distance queen? Or the retired, once-a-3:46-1500m-now-a-jogger-Jose Carvalho?
Over the past two years, the drinking game-induced banter and bar shot smack talk at social events between the two JCs has escalated to an unbearable tension. Finally, the heckling and challenging has materialized into a real-life 1500m race at the University of Toronto’s Varsity Stadium. And of all the things worth betting, these two thought that wearing a dress to the first Varsity practice of the fall would be the utmost motivation to win, and the most entertaining consequence to watch. Fair enough. May not have been my choice of prize for a 1500m race, but as a spectator I could not have wished for anything better.
Bar shot smack talk
Unfortunately I was not able to attend the race, but it developed as one might expect: Jose sat on Josephine for 1200m before drawing on his natural 800m speed and outkicking him (or perhaps just demolishing him over the entire last 300m), running 4:06, a good 8 seconds in front of Josephine. Unfortunate for those committed distance runners rooting for the fit and fast Josephine...but perhaps one of the greatest victories of Jose’s life, not only because he defended his 1500m reign over Josephine, but since he finally attained his dream of having a real-life girlfriend out of him (or her? I’m getting confused) for one evening. Jose WAS quoted as saying “Campanelli is going to look DAMN good in that dress,” a testament to his strong desire to witness such an event and to his faith that Josephine would look fantastic as a woman (girl?).
Jose went to the Salvation Army - to I would assume was the pre-teen girl’s section - to find a dress that would be perfect for the missus. He searched, brooded, visualized and searched some more before he would find the dress of his dreams. I have to say, it fit Josephine perfectly: it sat snugly on his small figure and showed off his toned runners legs (though I was worried I would see more of Josephine than I would like at some points while running behind him in the cooldown). It was a sleeveless, black-and-white, checkered summer dress – which initially surprised me, obviously seeing the opportunity for something far more embarrassing and flamboyant like a pink tutu. However, I gradually realized that this subtle, sophisticated outfit was a far sexier and more mature option that I’m sure brought joy to many of the varsity runners during their otherwise nerve-racking and stressful first practice.
Upon asking Josephine how he felt in his new running apparel, he admitted that he felt “free” and “quite comfortable.” The guys remarked that he had had a very strong workout, being far ahead of all them, prancing along gracefully in his feminine attire. That must have made the varsity men feel rather spectacular. After witnessing this spectacle, I am convinced that Josephine would be a great spokesperson – and model – for runningskirts, seeing as he looked so sexy, enjoyed and performed so well his first time in a dress (in public, of course). And judging from his calm and coy responses to all the compliments he received on Monday, I wouldn’t be surprised if he was receptive to such an offer!
DISCLAIMER: Photos of Josephine prancing through practice WILL be posted ASAP. I am waiting on JC#3, who is likely hoarding and admiring them for himself...