Ben & Jerry's Schweddy Balls has NPR, runners giddy

The running zeitgeist and National Public Radio have a new inspiration: Ben & Jerry's Schweddy Balls ice cream.

NEW YORK, September 13, 2011— It’s official. Someone at National Public Radio is obsessed with Schweddy Balls, and that person might be a runner.

Back in April 2010, “Run, Karla, Run!” reported on the ACLI Capital Challenge, an annual road race in Washington, D.C., between members of the legislative, executive and judicial branches of government, as well as the D.C. media. The event has been lampooning partisan politics since 1981 for a good cause, raising money for Special Olympics District of Columbia. Runners compete in teams, captained by luminaries from their respective branches of government or news agency.

Among the best parts of the competition are the awards for Best Team Name and Worst Team Name. Enter NPR. In 2010, one of their 11 teams won the coveted James B. Kenin Worst Team Name award for Team Schweddy Balls, named for the classic Saturday Night Live skit starring Alec Baldwin, Ana Gasteyer and Molly Shannon that lampoons, appropriately, NPR. NPR showed their sense of humor by picking a name that both pokes fun at themselves and tangentially relates to running. After all, running does make you sweaty, or Schweddy, as the case may be. 

Then NPR was among the first to report a story about Schweddy Balls, the ice cream. Rumors had been circulating on NY1 and Gothamist about a new Ben and Jerry’s ice cream flavor named for the 1998 skit. Ben and Jerry’s wouldn’t confirm the rumor until they officially announced Schweddy Balls as their newest flavor—a concoction of Fair Trade vanilla ice cream with a hint of rum and fudge covered rum and milk chocolate malt balls. NPR said they “thought it would never happen” and even tracked down Ben & Jerry’s spokesman for a comment.

It seems that Schweddy Balls is the joke that just keeps on giving for NPR. SNL, the Capital Challenge and now Ben & Jerry’s are keeping NPR in popular culture.

What does all this have to do with running? Well, not much other than NPR making a name for themselves at a race with Team Schweddy Balls, which eventually became a Ben & Jerry’s ice cream flavor, which has already become the subject of giggly messages on the Runner’s World discussion forum. It seems that Schweddy Balls may just be one more reason why NPR employees, and so many others, run.

Karla Bruning is an award-winning journalist and running nerd. She has completed four marathons, trains with the New York Harriers and is a member of New York Road Runners. Follow Karla’s “Notes From a Running Nerd” at, Facebook and Twitter@KBruning.

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Karla Bruning

Karla Bruning is the host of On The Run, a TV and web show from New York Road Runners. Her work has appeared in Newsweek, American Athlete Magazine,,, The Philadelphia Inquirer, San Francisco Chronicle, Orlando Sentinel, and two dozen other outlets including ESPN2, Universal Sports and ABC in New York. She and her work have also received mentions from The New York Times, Runner's World, Fox Sports, Canadian Running, The Baltimore Sun, and PBS among others. She also covered the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver for The Washington Times.


A former Newsweek reporter, Karla has won a Fulbright scholarship for American journalists and reporting grants from the Scripps Howard, Carnegie and Knight Foundations. Karla holds degrees from Amherst College and Columbia University’s Graduate School of Journalism.


When not pounding the pavement as a reporter, Karla is pounding the pavement as a runner. She has completed seven marathons, four triathlons, trains with the New York Harriers and is a member of New York Road Runners. She is a writer, editor, and on-camera reporter dedicated to covering the sport of running from a runner’s perspective. Find Karla on, Twitter@KBruning, Facebook and Google+.

Contact Karla Bruning


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