ST. LOUIS — Andy Bartelsmeyer’s Saturday plans opened up last week after learning the news the race he was to take part in was canceled due to flooding from the Missouri River. To fill the open time slot on his schedule, he came with with a unique idea.
Instead of taking part in the KT82 solo division 67-mile run, Bartelsmeyer decided that he’d support his beloved St. Louis Blues in a creative way to celebrate the team’s first Stanley Cup Final home game in 49 years. He spent his Saturday running the 28 miles from his home in Wildwood, Missouri to the Gateway Arch in St. Louis to attend Game 3, all while carrying a flag sporting the team’s logo.
Bartelsmeyer, an ultra-runner who has completed races of 100km and 50 miles in length, as well as 15 races of marathon distance or greater, ran a route that ended with him at the Gateway Arch, not far from the Blues home at Enterprise Center. At one point, his trek took him by the arena as fans began gathering before Game 3 and television networks were broadcasting their pre-game shows.
“I’m sure if you sift through videos from live shots [Saturday], I think that I’m in the background of at least six or seven of them, just running past with a flag,” Bartelsmeyer told NBC Sports on Sunday,
The 28-mile run might have been the least painful part of his day after the Blues’ 7-2 defeat in Game 3 to the Boston Bruins.
“Oh my goodness, the game,” Bartelsmeyer said. “I had fun running all the way across St. Louis. That’s my sick sort of entertainment. There wasn’t much fun about that game.”
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As Bartelsmeyer progressed on his route, he was joined by several other running at different points. One supporter, Eric, ran with him all the way to the Arch and was there for 26 of the 28 miles. Cars honked and others cheered him him, and there were no Bruins fans in sight to give him any grief.
Once Bartelsmeyer decided this was happening, he went online and ordered the 3×5 Blues flag, then went to a local hardware store to get tools to build a pole. He spent the last week doing practice runs in his neighborhood early in the morning to get used to running while carrying it.
Bartelsmeyer didn’t have tickets to Game 3, but decided to buy them the day before thanks to an “impulse decision.” He originally was going to do the run and attend the outdoor watch party, but he got lucky as bad weather caused the cancellation of that event.
While the game might not have been so memorable, the run was as Bartelsmeyer said it’s probably the most unique one he’s ever accomplished.
“I think that might have been the dumbest, most insane thing I’ve ever done,” he said. “Not only the ludicrousness of taking this giant flag and deciding to run 30 miles with this, but also the fact that I did it in the middle of the day, which was a decision that about 1:30 in the afternoon I was profoundly regretting. It got up to 93 degrees and it was sunny.”
Bartelsmeyer currently doesn’t have tickets to Game 4 or Game 6, if necessary, so if you happen to live near St. Louis and see someone running the streets with a giants Blues flag, be sure to say hello.
Sean Leahy is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at email@example.com or follow him on Twitter @Sean_Leahy.