420 Games San Francisco
420 Games San Francisco
When the 420 Games kicked off its 2016 tour in my hometown of Los Angeles and I couldn’t be there, I didn’t sweat it too much because I knew they’d be making multiple stops this year and that I’d catch another one down the road. Running hasn’t been a part of my life for very long -- but cannabis has, and although some may think the two activities seem counterintuitive, the growth of this very event year over year proves otherwise.
I arrived in San Francisco on Friday afternoon, just before 4:20 and had some extra time on my hands, so I made my way over to Harvest, a dispensary designated as the bib pick-up location on the day before the event. Bonus: The first 100 runners that showed up received a bag full of goodies from Delfonce, Buddha Bakes, and Alta Supply, to name a few. Another bonus: Harvest has a really sick lounge they used to disperse the bags and invited us to hang out there and consume whatever we received or purchased from the dispensary! VapeXhale even setup a booth and gave us all dabs on their state of the art vaporizer. I thought it was pretty dope that Jim McAlpine, the founder of the 420 Games, was there handing out the bags and choppin’ it up with folks who stopped by.
Aside from all of the reasons I already mentioned, spending time there served me well, as I was visiting from out of town and got a chance to make friends with a few locals who I would later run into at Golden Gate Park. These are some of the truest traits that I find in people who love cannabis: they’re easy to befriend and usually very accepting of others, perhaps because they understand what it’s like to be misunderstood. This unspoken bond happens often in this community and it’s a testament to the very basis of which this industry was built: compassion.
I think San Francisco’s gloomy weather is perfect for running, and I was lucky enough to be walking distance from the park, so I was pretty warmed up by the time I arrived. I quickly noticed and greeted people I knew from work and past events, and also got to meet a lot of friends I’d made via my Instagram account in person for the first time. Again, the ease of befriending these folks speaks to the kind of people who are drawn to this industry.
Shortly before the race was set to begin, Dee Desault of GanjaYoga, an SF-based yoga class whose name says it all, lead a large group of runners in a pre-run stretch from the stage of the Band Shell. Disclaimer: This was a non-consumption event meant to attract a family-friendly crowd and prove the lazy stoner-stigma wrong, so there was no ganja being passed around this yoga sesh, or anywhere else during the event (that I saw, at least). A few moments later we made our way over to the starting line and the 4.20 mile race began!
The scenery was a gorgeous park in the middle of the city lined with trees and sprinkled with patrons of all sorts. Prior to the race I’d been running 4.2 miles a couple times a week to make sure I’d be ready, so I was pretty familiar with how I felt at each mile marker. That’s why I was so surprised to see the two mile marker come up so quickly, and I thought that maybe I wasn’t pacing myself like I do on a treadmill, or maybe it was the energy from the crowd…I didn’t know, I just kept going. But then when the 4 mile marker came up not too long after, I knew for certain that there was no way that THAT was 4 miles, just based on how little I had sweat at that point. To add to my confusion, as I came close to the finish I noticed a few people who appeared to be just starting the course on the opposite side and wondered what was up with them? I got some high fives as I made it across the finish line and picked up my medal and a bottle of CBD water before I headed back towards the booths. We found out later that someone parked in the course so they had to cut the race short, and the people that I saw starting at the end were just the few really ambitious ones that wanted to complete the 4.2 miles. I’m by no means a lazy stoner, but I stuck with the 2.1!
Although after a run I’d usually prefer a bowl over a beer, there’s something to be said about the taste of an icy cold brew right after a race. From the Lagunitas beer garden I watched as keynote speaker and life-long cannabis activist, Steve Deangelo proudly informed us that the 420 Games had gone from 100 attendees to approximately 1000 in one year and that he envisions the Olympics in its future four years from now. Pato Baton and his band took the stage afterwards and jammed as the crowd acquainted itself with the vendors and cannabis-enthusiasts alike.
The 420 Games is making 3 more stops this year in Denver, CO, Boulder CO, and Portland, OR. Head to 420games.org for tickets and information.