Marathon Runner Hungry for a New Challenge Turns to Competitive Eating
A Manhattan man has an unusual take on extreme sports. He's a competitive runner and a competitive eater. Brooklyn reporter Jeanine Ramirez has the story.
Forty-year-old Yasir Salem is running a marathon every month this year -- and this weekend's Brooklyn Half marathon to boot.
But the Manhattan man is hardly running on empty.
This running machine is also an eating machine.
He's a world ranked competitive eater who has chowed through the Nathan's hot dog eating contest in Coney Island every July 4th for five years.
It's an unusual combination of endurance sports. Salem chalks it up to his competitive spirit
"My wife and I started running marathons in 2010, and I got addicted to competing," he says.
Salem takes a methodical approach toward his contradictory competitions -- balancing his food intake with his energy output.
He runs 30 miles a week, while also training his stomach.
"fter that 16-mile run on Sunday I'll usually sit down and I'll eat like four to six pounds of broccoli and cauliflower and I'll throw in some noodles and I'll throw in some protein on top of that."
He counts his calories as carefully as his miles.
"I am able to keep an excel sheet of what one contest does to overall nutruition," he says.
Last year, Salem set the record for eating sweet corn -- downing 47 ears in 12 minutes. He's ranked number 12 in the world by Major League Eating. He averages 7 food competitions a year.
"I basically have seven Thanksgiving dinners in addition to my Thanksgiving dinner," he says.
He's even managed to combine both eating and athletics.
Salem is the reigning champion of the Donut Derby in Pennsylvania and the Tour de Donut in Ohio -- hybrid races that combine cycling more than 30 miles with pit stops to down doughnuts.
His personal best -- 55 doughnuts in one race.
"With the doughnut I actually get 12 doughnuts and I squish them out to get the air out of it and I eat it all at one time," he explains matter-of-factly. "I eat 12 at a time."
For this weekend's Brooklyn Half, he expects to cross the finish line in Coney Island in about two hours.
Salem says when he finishes the race on Saturday he'll come to Nathan's on the Boardwalk.
But, he says, he'll only have two hot dogs.