Broccoli Girl: The Runner That Ran With Random Food
When running a half marathon there are a few items we need to carry along the way. But there is one runner that is putting a whole new spin on running food when racing. Meet “broccoli girl,” the runner who became pretty much a celebrity during Disney’s Star Wars Weekend.
It isn’t quite yet Wine & Dine Weekend yet, but one racer made herself known this past weekend at Disney World.
Callie Fairbank has been called “a magical person” and “the hero I didn’t know I need.” And the running community continues to applaud the runner for her tradition of carrying a random piece of food each race.
It All Started With A Banana
A photo of Fairbank running the Star Wars 10k on Saturday while holding a stalk of broccoli was shared on the runDisneyRun Facebook after the event. And the comments flooded in. Who is broccoli girl? And why does she run with random pieces of food?
“I started running with food after my dad dared me to run a half marathon with a banana,” Fairbank told RunnerClick. “It has since become the weird and strange tradition that I love.”
What started with a dare and a banana has grown to become a way to get creative and have some fun while competing in races. The Florida resident has run nine half marathons, including the run Disney race challenges that she does to maximize the amount of bling earned. She completed the Start Wars Rival Run this weekend, calling every mile “fantastic.”
Another tradition, this is the runner’s fourth Star Wars Weekend, running them with her sister ever since its inaugural year. Fairbank has the goal to get to legacy runner status for Star Wars Weekend in 2020.
“Over time the food I have carried gets wilder and wilder,” she said. “I have carried a banana, an ear of corn, artichoke, a stalk of Brussels sprouts, pineapple, Bok Choy and cheese, broccoli, and the pizza.”
From Broccoli To Pizza
Yes, Fairbank went from carrying broccoli to carrying a full pizza this weekend. While many loved seeing the runner race on by with broccoli, she stepped up her game to carry an entire box of pizza during the Star Wars Half Marathon.
And yes, security actually checked the pizza box.
How did she manage to hold onto a pie of pepperoni pizza for 13.1 miles without it sliding all over the place? She actually glued the pizza to the box, which she said “made things easier” for her. This is also why she wasn’t carb loading while running like many hoped she did.
“Carrying the pizza was a bit awkward and made my arms hurt but people got a real kick out of it so I would say it was definitely worth it,” Fairbank said.
Many people recognized Fairbank holding the pizza as the broccoli girl from the day before. Some were curious as to what was going on but caught on to her fun tradition after seeing her during the weekend and overhearing her story.
Some even saw her at previous races like when she ran the Princess weekend with a wedge of cheese and Bok Choy.
“Running with the pizza was not the most challenging to run with, the pineapple I carried for the Princess Half Marathon last year was the worst, though still worth it,” she added.
Picking The Food
So how does she select her food to run with?
“I don’t always plan out what I am going to run with but I have certain criteria the food I run with must fit for me to consider it,” she said. “The food has to be able to hold up the whole race, be large enough that it is visible for pictures, and not be normal.”
She even reached out to the run Disney Facebook community last year for suggestions. What she got where an apple (to pair with a Snow White costume), a melon, dragonfruit, cucumber, and an avocado. At least people stick to healthy options.
Does she ever eat the foods?
The 18-year-old full-time student did eat the pineapple after the half. She also has the ear of corn she ran with to a squirrel in the parks post run.
Running any of the popular Disney races are magical, but running with the food just adds an extra layer of fun to the madness.
“I run the RunDisney races because there is a very large family feeling to it and I typically run the races with my family,” Fairbank said. “RunDisney weekends are amazing in so many ways, it brings people together, you get to see and meet so many incredible people, and you get to push yourself with the rewards being great pictures, medals, and most importantly good memories.”
Along with the early mornings back-to-back, Fairbank said that the hardest part of these races is finding the courage to finish. “But there are so many encouraging people you will meet throughout the weekend and they make everything better,” she added. “For me, since I am the crazy person who carries food, my arms do get a bit tired and obviously, my whole body gets sore from running but because I challenge myself by carrying the food it fuels me to finish. I also love talking to all of the people on the course about my food and why I am carrying it, hearing all the comments, that also pushes me because I don’t want to let down all of the people who I talked to about it.”
Fairbank has plans to run the next Star Wars Challenge Weekend, but may also consider the Wine & Dine races after many runners asked if it was on her plate next. She has dreams of fundraising for the charity Autism Speaks in honor of her brother.