Seems like a sport: Unlawful endurance eating, or, barbecuing inside of a grocery store

In the inaugural installment of "Seems like a sport," we examine the adventures of a Kentucky man who hid in a grocery store, ate approximately 10,000 calories after it closed, and camped out in the attic. Is this a sport?

Monday night in Bullitt County, Kentucky, a 30-year-old man hid in the bathroom of a ValuMarket grocery store. After the store closed, he emerged, and for a number of hours the store was transformed into one man's personal banquet hall.

"Odyssey" is the word you're looking for. From WDRB-Louisville:

"He went to the beer cooler and got him a couple of beers," Ofc. Huffman said. "He ate six steaks, a couple of pounds of shrimp, a dinner salad and a birthday cake...and he drank a case of soft drinks."

"He had a really good time in there," Huffman added.

"Is this a sport?" is not a question that requires a binary answer. You and I ought to be able to agree that there is plenty of gray area with regard to pursuits such as poker, stock car racing, baseball, and competitive eating. I debated with my associate, Spencer Hall, over whether endurance eating is a sport, and we quickly reckoned that it's a half-sport. It is, after all, a test of physical ability.

It's clear, then, that the gentleman in question did engage in some manner of sport. Based on what we can glean from the police report, Mr. Trevor Runyan consumed the following:

  • Six steaks (approx. 4,300 calories)
  • Around two pounds of shrimp (approx. 900 calories)
  • Birthday cake (between 1,000 and 2,000 calories)
  • "A case" of soda. We take "a case" to mean 24 cans, and we felt that consuming 288 ounces of soda would not be possible. Rather, we estimate that Mr. Runyon took a few gulps from a can, forgot where he placed it, and opened another, thereby consuming about one-third of the case. (approx. 1,700 calories)
  • Beer. We conservatively estimate that Mr. Runyon consumed only two or three units. (approx. 400 calories)
  • A gallon of tea. This is Kentucky, and none of this man's actions say, "I'd better grab the unsweetened tea. Watch m'calories and all that." No, this was almost certainly sweet tea. (approx. 1,400 calories)

We have a sum of between 9,700 and 10,700 calories, on par with the number of calories consumed in a single standing by a world-class competitive eater. Consider, though, the differences: he probably didn't condition his stomach. The calories consumed were of all sorts -- alcohol, sugar, complex carbohydrates, beef, and seafood -- so unlike the hot dogs of the competitive eater, these calories threw him all manner of curveballs.

Please also consider:

And that isn't all he allegedly did. Huffman said he huffed over 50 cans of Reddi-wip.

Between the two of us, Spencer and I can't figure out how this would even work or what it would look like, but it feels germane to the discussion.

Please also consider:

Sometime during the events, the subject pooped in his pants and got a pair of Bullitt East underwear, along with a couple of t-shirts."

I would certainly hope so, because all that food in one belly ought to create enough pressure to split an atom.

And finally, please also also consider:

They eventually found Runyon asleep in the attic, and, according to Huffman, the fire department had to be called in order to rescue Runyon. The rescue operations caused damage to the store, according to the arrest report.

Huffman said Runyon didn't give him any trouble.

"He wasn't violent," he said. "He was just friendly. He wasn't mean or hostile."

A grocery store attic? What grocery store has an attic? I take "attic," in this case, to refer to the short overhead space above the store's removable ceiling tiles. This means, I reckon, that following his feast, Mr. Runyon had to muster enough agility to climb a shelf, pop loose a ceiling panel, and pull himself up. That's astounding.


1. Competitive eating is presumed here to be a half-sport (50%)

2. Mr. Runyon acted outside the bounds of competition or any sanctioning body, so it's half of a half-sport. (Down to 25%)

3. He employed cunning and stealth. (Up to 30%)

4. He pushed the bounds of physical human ability by climbing after having consumed approximately 10,000 calories. (Up to 40%)

5. His conquests led a police reporter to write the word "pooped" in an official document. Not "defecated" or "relieved." "Pooped." (Up to 41%)


Further deconstruction is welcome in the comments. This is a communal endeavor.

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