"If you were walking by, it would probably look more like a 5 or 10k race than a cannabis event." That’s Jim McAlpine, founder of the 420 Games. I spoke to him about the latest instalment of the games, which will happen March 31st and April 1st at the Santa Monica Pier in Los Angeles.
Indeed, the 420 Games organizers ask that participants not smoke on site. The focus is on advocacy and education, and the benefits that cannabis can bring to a healthy lifestyle.
First launched in August 2014, The 420 Games center on a 4.2 mile run (most runs are 3.2 miles, or 5 kilometers - participants quite literally go the extra mile for cannabis). But that’s just the start of what McAlpine and company have planned. The latest instalment of the games has something for everyone - it’s "packed full of a ton of different athletic activities", McAlpine says.
There will be an arm wrestling competition featuring UFC champions Frank Shamrock and Bas Rutten, a jiujitsu competition, and even 420 yoga led by Ricky Williams. At the Venice Skate Bowl, there will be a skate contest with a $20 000 cash purse featuring Bucky Lasek, and a BMX halfpipe show. There will even be a rap battle featuring freestyle champion Harry Mack. There will be challengers, but McAlpine predicts that Mack will remain "king of the day".
The LA instalment of the games is just the first of this year’s events. The 420 Games will come to Pittsburgh in April, Denver in June, and San Francisco in August. Beyond 2018, McAlpine sees big things in store.
"I think this will become a huge national event much like Tough Mudder or Spartan Race," says McAlpine. "I’m just looking forward to bringing it to places that are not as accepting of cannabis."
Check out a video preview of the games below, and head to their official website for more information.
Banner Image: Larry Gassan