Tales of a Virgin Athlete Contest

>> Wednesday, March 04, 2009


• Submit a story that is 300 words or less. It should be funny, embarrassing, inspiring, or just entertaining on some level. It should be about an early training or racing experience (in fitting with the contest title of “Tales of a Virgin Athlete”).

• Submit 1 photo no bigger than 560 pixels high by 410 pixels wide. If it’s bigger, it will be resized to fit within those dimensions. The image can be 2 images put together (to show a then-and-now or whatever), but it still must fit the size requirements.

• No horribly exaggerated stories, and no blatant lies. You don’t want to win this contest by being a jerk. OK? OK.

Contest Timeline:

Submissions will be accepted via e-mail through midnight on Wednesday, March 11. If there are many entries, a panel of athletically minded people will narrow the field down to a more reasonable number (like 6 - 10). The public will start voting on Sunday, March 15. Voting will go through Saturday, March 21, and conclude at 10 pm. The top 3 winners will be officially announced on Monday, March 22.

To Take Part:

E-mail me your story as plain text in the body of an e-mail. Put something like “Virgin Athlete Contest Entry” in the subject line so I don’t mark it as spam. Attach the image that accompanies your story to the e-mail. I’ll send you a message right back letting you know I received it. E-mail your submissions to me at: stevestenzelphotography@yahoo.com


Come on, I don’t expect you to make an ass of yourself and get nothing in return! Drymax Socks has generously signed on to be a sponsor! They are awarding prizes to the stories/photos that get the most votes.

1st place will win 24 pairs of assorted Drymax Socks
(around a $240 value)

2nd place will win 12 pairs of assorted Drymax Socks
(around a $120 value)

3rd place will win 6 pairs of assorted Drymax Socks
(around a $60 value)

In addition, the “local” entry that receives the most votes wins an entry into Charities Challenge 4th Annual MN State RRCA 5K Championship at Lake Como in St. Paul on April 4th. That person will also receive the official RRCA race t-shirt AND a personalized announcement when he/she crosses the finish line. (And don’t be scared that it’s a “5K Championship” - last year, there were 4 people that finished in over 1 hour.)


Here’s an example of a funny/awkward entry. This was my story that I posted back in January that shows how na├»ve I was when I first started running:

I’m no dummy. I wanted to be “ready” for the first day of track practice freshman year of high school. So sometime over Christmas break (around New Year 1996), I went out for my first training run. I thought, “I think I’ll run to the corner and back.” Now, I grew up in the middle of nowhere on a tiny gravel road, so for all you know, “the corner” could have been a mile or more away. But “the corner” was about a quarter mile away. Oooh, feel the burn. I hopped on the gravel road, noted the time on my watch (so I could track my time), and took off. I barely made it that quarter mile - I was huffing and puffing when I got there. I don’t remember what my time was, but I remember being pleased. I took a moment to revel in the great workout, and then I did a run/walk/run on the quarter mile back home.

The first day of track practice rolls around, and Coach puts me in a group of other newbies. “You guys: head down 22, go around the golf course, and come back. That’s 2 miles.” Ummm, AROUND the golf course? TWO MILES? Coach, you’re insane.

On that first 2 mile run, I got half way through (to the far corner of the golf course) before I had to stop and walk. I was still ahead of a sophomore, so I was pretty proud of that. Over that last mile home, I think I stopped to walk about 5 times. But I made it back to the school.

One official workout down, with no idea how many thousands of workouts lie in my future.

That story was paired with the super awkward photo of me at that time in my life:

(FYI: That image is 410 pixels wide and 537 pixels tall. And the story is 285 words long.)

Extra Details:

• If your story makes the cut, it will appear on my blog with your photo below it for voting. (So people will be reading the story before they see your photo.)

• “Athlete” is used loosely in this contest. Maybe you just play tennis once a month, but you have a great story from when you first started. Your story can be about ANYTHING that is athletic-related: running, biking, swimming, triathlon, downhill skiing, tennis, baseball, softball, etc. (Just not bowling - bowling is a skill, not a sport. Ha!)

• MINIMAL text may be used on your image if need-be.

• You do NOT need to have a blog to participate! Anyone can submit their story and photo. If you DO have a blog (and make it to the “finals”), your entry will have a link back to your blog, so you might gain a few extra readers from this experience!

• Many, MANY of you came up with great possible names for this contest (check out the comments section of my Friday post). I ended up going with Kristen’s idea for the title! Thanks Kristen!

• FYI, I’ve LOVED both Drymax Socks and Charities Challenge events for a while now, and I’m SUPER excited that they’re giving away prizes so that we can hear your funny/inspiring/embarrassing stories! Thanks Drymax and Charities Challenge!!

So, what are you waiting for?!? Start sending me your entries!!



Carolina John 8:12 AM, March 04, 2009  

Cool! glad we have the details. you can expect my email shortly.

tfh 8:59 AM, March 04, 2009  

Super cool prizes! I'm putting my thinking cap on...

I Run for Fun 9:24 AM, March 04, 2009  

Cool! I am racking my brains. Look forward to reading all the stories too!

Amber 9:40 AM, March 04, 2009  

Hahaha. I laughed out loud at your "example" and the pictures that are with it :-)

Jogger 9:56 AM, March 04, 2009  

Oh, I'm excited about this one. I'll do anything or socks. Well. Almost.

Gotta Run 11:08 AM, March 04, 2009  

My wheels are turning....

untpawgal02 11:56 AM, March 04, 2009  

will definitely be entering this contest... now to think of a story!!!

Charisa 12:06 PM, March 04, 2009  

Ohhhhhh fun, a "make-fun-of-myself" contest - sign me up :)

workout mommy 1:20 PM, March 04, 2009  

great contest! I will start working on my entry.

and your picture? CLASSIC!!

Carly 1:31 PM, March 04, 2009  

Ohhhh I am working on mine right now too. Love the prizes! Great photos.

Marlene 1:55 PM, March 04, 2009  

Thanks for organizing this, Steve! I'd better get busy.

Can't wait to read everyone's stories!

X-Country2 4:49 PM, March 04, 2009  

I'll have to give it some thought, but it sounds like a great contest!

MadisonDuo 5:06 PM, March 04, 2009  

Love the photo of you! That is classic...

FYI - I finally answered your 'Interview' questions, they are on my blog :)

Shannon 5:08 PM, March 04, 2009  

You got me thinking Mister Steve....

Sports Endurance Enthusiast 5:24 PM, March 04, 2009  

Cool beans... I'm in... when's the due date?

Running Around Acres 9:22 PM, March 04, 2009  

Super cool of Drymax and Charity Challenge for the prizes. 2 dozen Drymax - that's amazing. Now to dig up all those old embarrassing high school pictures.

Alisa 9:52 PM, March 04, 2009  

I love this! Hmmm...must channel my inner creative writer!

chia 11:42 PM, March 04, 2009  

So, what if I wasn't really a virgin when I started doing athlete-type things?

Runner Susan 5:18 AM, March 05, 2009  

Hmmm? that would mean posting a 225 lbs picture of me to the world?

1996 and still in high school? Geez, I'm so freaking old. I was married with a kid on the way.

lindsay 7:33 PM, March 05, 2009  

hahaha. wow hotness of '96. you've motivated me to head out for a quarter-mile run though. those things are tough!

sounds like a great contest. i've just always been so perfect i don't know what i could enter... hmmm. ;-)

Bootchez 12:13 PM, March 06, 2009  

Sheesh, I think the only stories I have about being a "virgin athlete" are about peeing and/or popping myself on the side of the road, and I think I oughta keep that (and the pictures) to myself . . .

sRod 8:20 AM, March 08, 2009  

I'm trying to think of a story from my first race and I've got nothing. Can we have a veteran's tale contest? I have far more of those than newbie stories.

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