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You Can Jog A Downhill 1K Dressed As A Banana — For Charity

A person in a banana costume holds hands with someone in a strawberry costume while standing in the water
Don't worry, the 1K downhill race here won't be as wet as this New Year Day swim in Scotland — but we may see far more banana costumes.
(Jeff J. Mitchell
Getty Images)
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There’s a lot involved in getting ready for a race, from training to waking up in the pre-dawn hours to line up. What if you don’t want to do any of that?

For everyone who’s not ready to take on a marathon, or even a 5K, there’s the 1st Annual Bananas Splitty In The City this Saturday, July 23. It’s a downhill 1K run/jog/walk down Santa Monica Boulevard, from the 4100 Bar to The Virgil theater. Put together by the Bananas strange news podcast, the organizers describe as a non-competitive un-race.

Bananas podcast co-host Scotty Landes got the idea after seeing marathoners posting dramatic photos with their race bibs on social media.

“I just knew that there was no way I would ever do that. I don’t even like getting up early, let alone getting up early and then running 26.2 miles,” Landes said. “I always wanted to do a downhill 1K that was in the mid-afternoon, so that anybody who’s ever wanted one of those photos or to feel like they ran some sort of race could come out and do it.”

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Landes co-hosts Bananas with fellow comedian Kurt Braunohler. They’re asking entrants to dress in banana costumes or as something bananas-related to help add to the absurdity. In Landes’ words, to “insert absurdity into the real world for positive outcomes” — an ongoing project for more than a decade for both men.

“So hopefully there will be 200 to 400 people dressed as bananas running down Santa Monica Boulevard — or, walking gingerly down Santa Monica Boulevard,” Landes said.

The event will be raising money for the L.A. Food Bank, as well as awareness for the podcast. And to add some beats to the steps, Who Let The Dogs Out by the Baha Men will be looping on Bluetooth speakers throughout the 0.6-mile jog.

“So even if that downhill 1K is a little grueling for you, your moans and groans will be washed away by the Baha Men,” Landes said. “We just want to give the listeners of our podcast an experience.”

The show’s hosts first met at a party around 15 years ago, according to Landes, who said the topic that brought them together was: how fun using a handcar looks.

“They’re the things you’ve seen in cartoons, where somebody’s on a train track, and they raise and lower a lever. We were like, we should build one, and raise awareness for recycling. Make one out of plastic and go from New York to Los Angeles,” Landes said. “Everybody else at the party thought we were insane.”

They’ve since gone on to do dozens of big comedy stunts, like hiring a pilot to skywrite “How do I land” above L.A., or when Landes took the 19-mile walk from the front door of his Echo Park home directly into the Pacific Ocean.

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“Which a lot of people don’t know: Los Angeles, very walkable city. Who knew?” Landes said. After Braunohler joined him in Silver Lake, “then we walked into the ocean without taking our shoes or anything off.”

That attitude also crosses over to their podcast, which covers real-life stories like a person who got distracted by a spider, slammed on the accelerator, and launched their car into two boats in a marina — or a woman early in the pandemic who discovered that what she’d been washing her hands not with soap, but with a piece of cheese that just looked like soap.

“I love the stories that are like these little moments of true humanity that just get taken to this extreme,” Landes said.

A person dressed as a banana faces racers on the street with their back to the camera.
Instead of handing out bananas like this volunteer at the New York City Marathon, you can participate while being the banana yourself.
(Andrew Burton
Getty Images)

While this is the first year of the event, Landes promised that next year will be their “Second Inaugural” downhill 1K.

“We know it’s grammatically correct, and we hope to do this every year to raise money for L.A. Food Bank,” Landes said.

The 1K ends at The Virgil theater with a live recording of the Bananas podcast, with guest Cristela Alonzo. Get ready to gently jog — and with the 4 p.m. start time, Landes said, you can feel free to grab brunch or sleep in.

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