Of course Fraser, 5'6" and a self-professed "97-lb. weakling times three," wasn't at the recent world track-and-field championships in Tokyo. Fraser, 69, a retired denturist, joined some 60 other contestants in the Short Fat Guys Road Race at the Crooked River Ranch in Terrebonne, Oreg., not far from Redmond.
This was the state's filth annual race that makes a mockery of jockery. To qualify, each contestant's waistline measurement had to exceed his or her inseam by 4½ inches. While racers were required to start and finish on their own two feet, most of them chose not to actually run the full one-mile downhill course. Instead they made their way on horses, lawn mowers, hospital gurneys and flatbed trailers equipped with lawn chairs and beer. And everyone who finished was declared a winner—eligible for the grand prize of a beer and a Twinkie.
Some of the entrants had their own training regimens. Fraser says that his was "to go back and forth between Wendy's and McDonald's." Bob Halvorsen and his son-in-law, Steve Walsh, actually worked out. "We played a round of golf," says Walsh.
And when it was all over, there was none of this trumpeting of national anthems or presenting of medals. Instead there was Don Fraser and other athletes, like 255-lb. Hank Kawa, savoring the moment in the Sandbagger Saloon, whose owners sponsor the race. "This is great," said Kawa. "The beer is cold and the Twinkie is fresh."
You can bet Carl Lewis never had it so good.
CARL LEWIS SET A WORLD RECORD IN the 100 meters. Mike Powell set one in the long jump. Don Fraser won his event too, and in magnificent form. But does anyone care? Just because he's not in shape like those other show-offs doesn't mean he's not an athlete.