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August 2, 2012
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Devour Des Moines

By Jared Curtis

Competitors devour wings during lat year’s competition. The 2012 Devour Des Moines takes place on Saturday, Aug. 4 beginning at 10 a.m. in front of the High Life Lounge/el Bait Shop. For more information, visit

Track and food event takes over the metro

As endurance/adventure races have caught on and become entertaining and challenging for participants, a new breed of contests is also starting to emerge — food races. The Doughman in Durham, N.C., has become a popular draw, offering teams of four the chance to run, swim, bike and eat their way to the finish line. A few years ago, Mike Banasiak heard about these new athletic events, and due to the highly active athletic community throughout Des Moines, he knew it would be the ideal place to create Devour Des Moines.

“I’m a fan of watching the Food Network and The Travel Channel and had seen a few events where they combine athletics with food. I had the idea for a few years and eventually found a few other people who thought it could be a great event,” said Banasiak, who runs the event with Kate Banasiak, Jill Olsen, Wendy Wall and Matt Elliott. “We had 22 teams last year, and we have more than 30 signed up for this year. We’d love to reach 50 teams.”

Devour Des Moines works like a normal triathlon event but with a “Man v. Food” twist. Each team (which consists of four members) will compete in the five-leg competition either by running three miles, biking five miles or running for two miles and swimming various laps. When competitors finish their leg, they tag their partner, who continues on to the next event. At the beginning of each leg, the competitor must wolf down some grub including a breakfast burrito, sweet corn, pizza, a mini meat loaf dinner and wings.

“Everything will be starting and stopping in front of the High Life Lounge/el Bait Shop. We’ll have the street blocked off and all of the eating challenges will take place there,” Banasiak said. “It’s a great place for the fans to watch and cheer on their team.”

Last year the event raised $1,500 for Buy Fresh, Buy Local and organizers hope they can top that goal this year. Their goal is to make a fun event people could enjoy, even if they’re not competing.

“The bar will be open 10 a.m., allowing fans to enjoy some nice cold beverages while seeing all of the transitions and eating challenges,” Banasiak said. “After the event, we will have an after party with the awards ceremony, and people can relax and hang out and enjoy some celebratory drinks after finishing.”

Although registration is closed for this year’s event, Banasiak encourages people to stop by and see what the event is all about so they can plan their team for next year.

“Right now we’re keeping it simple and just focusing on the event, but we’re hoping to expand in the upcoming years,” he said. “I don’t see this event going anywhere, and we plan on growing bigger and better.”

With so much going in the vicinity during the event, including the Downtown Farmers’ Market, Banasiak says it’s the perfect time to stop by and enjoy all the downtown area has to offer.

“This is an event you don’t want to miss,” he said. “You’ll be able to see the strategies of the different teams and offer some much-needed support for them as they cross the finish line. Plus, you won’t find anything like this in town.” CV

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