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December 24, 2001

Run for 51
By Rob Dibble

On a cold, rainy Monday night, the former "Nasty Boy" (oh no! I've started referring to myself in the third person) made his way around Times Square in nothing more than Nike sneakers and a thong.

It was a crazy, fun and amazing experience! It was also very humbling and very different from what I imagined.

Dan Patrick
ESPN's Rob Dibble deals with the media crush surrounding his Monday-night run.

When I first came outside, a crowd had gathered wondering what all the fuss was about. People thought Michael Jordan was about to walk out of the ESPN Zone. Imagine their surprise when they found out it was just me -- and I was about to strip down to a thong!

My brother-in-law, Eric, and my good friend Jason ran on either side of me to block pedestrians -- I felt like an NFL running back. We were cruising, so the entire run took about five minutes.

The New York City Police Department was so incredibly accommodating and cooperative. I can't thank you guys enough. I apologize for any inconvenience I may have caused.

I prepared for this moment for the past few months. I cut back my lifting to concentrate on running about two miles a day -- no small task for me. I hate running. Back in the minor leagues, I was so lazy; I would drive my car from one side of our motel complex to the other -- just to get a Pepsi!

I turned this experience into a valuable lesson -- don't make a stupid bet on national radio unless you intend to back it up.

Running is great when you're playing a sport. But on a treadmill, it nearly drove me insane -- I just get too restless. If not for ESPN's programming, I would have gone nuts on that thing. And I'm not just saying that to plug the company. It's the only thing that kept me focused. So, thanks ESPN.

It took me an hour to get shaved-down for this run. The weather was perfect -- low temperatures and cold rain. As far as I was concerned, the more miserable, the better. I was definitely up for the challenge.

In case you're wondering, the tattoo -- of Ichiro's name plus his number, 51 -- is for real. After showing it off to a crowd at Times Square, I talked my wife Joanne into allowing me to put a photo on the Web site.


Explaining all this to my kids was something of a delicate subject. I turned this experience into a valuable lesson -- don't make a stupid bet on national radio unless you intend to back it up.

My 12-year-old daughter thinks it's hysterical but won't be seen in public with me ... "ever again." My 9-year-old son also thinks it's funny, but he thinks the tattoo was for a Rob Zombie concert. He said plainly, "Dad, why do you have to go hang out with all those freaks? Why can't you be more like other Dads?


On Saturday afternoon, in preparation for the Monday-night run, the wife and I packed the kids in the car and headed out to the local Fredrick's of Hollywood -- why be normal, right? We actually had a blast together, picking out just the right attire. They vetoed me getting the thong with the mouse on the front, but I guess you can't win them all.

All kidding aside, I hope everyone had a great a time at my expense. I've actually had fun losing this bet. And it's for a great cause, so thanks to everyone who donated to the Salvation Army!

And one last thank you: Ichiro, thanks for being so friggin' great!

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Rob Dibble runs through Times Square in a g-string.
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