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Pro-am running relays we need to see

Here are some celebrities we'd love to see racing alongside the world's best runners

On Sunday, the world of sports returned to North America with The Match, a round of golf that featured Tiger Woods paired with former NFL quarterback Peyton Manning versus Phil Mickelson and current NFL star Tom Brady. The Match raised $20 million for COVID-19 relief, and it attracted an average of 5.8 million viewers throughout the entire day, with a peak of 6.3 million at one point. This was hugely successful, and it got us thinking about what runner-celebrity matchups we’d like to see in a pro-am relay race. Here are a few of the best matchups and competitions over several distances.

2x100m relay

Matchup: Usain Bolt and Tom Cruise vs. Andre De Grasse and Matt Damon 

Why we want to see it: We know Bolt’s been retired for a few years, but he’s still got speed in his legs, which he put on display at the NFL combine last year. De Grasse is returning from injury and looks like a potential heir to Bolt’s Olympic champion throne. Plus, we could get another Bolt-De Grasse bromance photo. As for Damon and Cruise, they’re action stars, always running after bad guys or running from explosions. Sure, that’s just in the movies, but we’re willing to bet they can be speedy when they want to be.

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2x 1-mile race

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Matchup: Laura Muir and LeBron James vs. Gabriela DeBues-Stafford and Malcolm Gladwell 

Why we want to see it: Muir and DeBues-Stafford are teammates, they finished 5th and sixth in the 1,500m at the 2019 world championships and they have similar mile PBs (4:17.87 for DeBues-Stafford and 4:18.03 for Muir). It’d be great to see them face off. For NBA champion James and lifelong runner Gladwell, we can finally see who would win in a mile-long race between the two of them, which the running world has been asking for for years. As a bonus, there’d be an all-Canadian team in DeBues-Stafford and Gladwell.

2x half-marathon

Matchup: Des Linden and Kevin Hart vs. Shalane Flanagan and Ryan Reynolds 

Why we want to see it: Firstly, the banter between Hart and Linden would be hilarious, seeing as one’s a professional comedian and the other has produced some great post-race interviews. We know Flanagan’s retired, but she’d hopefully return to racing for this event. Flanagan and Linden are New York City and Boston marathon champions, respectively, and Hart and Reynolds have both run marathons before. We think it could be a good matchup.

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Trade-off backyard relay

Matchup: Mike Wardian and Meryl Streep vs. Maggie Guterl and Tom Hanks

Why we want to see it: We want a backyard-off between these two teams. One person runs one lap, the other runs the next and so on until only one team is left running. We’ve got the Quarantine Backyard Ultra champion Wardian facing off against Guterl, the Big’s Backyard Ultra champ. On the celebrity side, we have Hanks, who ran for hundreds of miles in Forrest Gump, and Streep, who has been acting in movies since the 1970s, proving she’s got some serious endurance.