Pheidippides has a lot to answer for

For the life of me, I cannot understand the idea of running a marathon.

They’re all at it today in Dublin – 20,000 people all running 26 miles [and 385 yards] for what?  They end up a few yards from where they started but the price of that few yards is pain, exhaustion, dehydration and a fair chance of a heart attack.

I really and honestly cannot see the point of it all.  I suppose there are those who will claim that it’s an achievement, but it’s a very artificial one.  It’s just an arbitrary [yes – I know it’s history] distance and the idea is to run that distance.  The achievement is not in winning but merely the ability to reach the finish line without suffering a coronary.  No one really hopes to be first across the line: all they hope for is that they will arrive in one piece.

I can easily understand the concept of the challenge of climbing Mount Everest or swimming the English Channel.  The former is the world’s highest mountain and the latter saves on the ferry fare.  They at least have an end goal, but running in a gigantic circle just seems so pointless.

If people want a challenge then why not set a productive goal?  Why not give yourself six months of practice and learn to play the guitar, or write a book, or at the very least something that adds to your skills and can be of value later in life.  There are those who will set out on the Camino-Santiago Way or the Appalachian Trail but there are two enormous differences – one is that they are both very scenic and the other is that they aren’t a mass crowd thing.  There is no one to cheer you on apart from others doing the same route, and there is no time limit. You get to experience new sights and places and I imagine it’s very rewarding.  But running through an overly familiar concrete jungle of city streets and suburban roads?  What is the fucking point?.

I wonder if any of those running today’s little event had the forethought to wait until mid-course to put their watches back an hour?

It would have done wonders for their timing?


The idiot who started it all

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Pheidippides has a lot to answer for — 24 Comments

  1. It fits right in with the puritans telling us we have to be healthy.  We must go to the gym.  We must run marathons.  We must eat what we are told is good for us.  We must not do any thing we are told is bad for us.  No sugar.  No alcohol.  No salt.  No fat.  No carbs.  Everything must be gluten free and ,by God, absolutely no smoking of any kind.  We will be good worker bees.

    • I’m surprised that all participants don’t have to provide a Certificate of Fitness from their local hospital before entering.  I suppose that wil come in time?

  2. Marathon runners do in fact set themselves a goal – to complete the 26 miles or 42 kilometres – and give themselves several months of pre-marathon training in order to accomplish the task. In the first month of training the athlete just runs 5 km or so every time, and as the weeks pass increases the daily distance to be covered. It’s a matter of getting the body gradually primed. In the later stages of training the athlete also tries to build up personal psychology so that three-quarters way through the distance they can face what’s known as The Wall and get through the last kilometres to the finish. Finishing rather than winning is the average runner’s target. Another aim of average runners is to raise money for charity through local sponsorship. For those runners who fly to different cities, there is the exhilaration of ‘conquering’ several great cities by completing the course.

    • But this is my whole point.  They set themselves a goal and do months of training, but that goal is just to run a specified distance.  It’s a punishing task physically and my point is that if they are going to dedicate themselves to that level, why don’t they choose a more worthy goal? 

      Raising money is fine [providing the cause is equally worthy] but again, why not just ask people to donate?

      As for flying to different cites – anyone can do that for any reason.  No training involved.

  3. There are many, what you might call common, things about people that I’ve noticed in my life and by that I mean things people keep doing over and over again and the results thereof. Kind of like the true definition of insanity only on a different level. Call them habits or hobbies or their favorite thing to do when they’re not working and/or the wife/husband isn’t watching.

    One of them is jogging and/or running. In all my years of watching these folks jogging/running/cantering/galloping past I’ve yet to see a single one of them smiling.

    That should say something right there?

    • Joggers and cyclists all see to belong to some kind of subset of mankind?  They take themselves very seriously to the point of almost obsessive dedication.  I just wish they’d keep off the fucking road and stop cluttering up my coffee shop!

  4. Pheidippides seems to have run from Marathon buck naked in baking temperatures.

    Having stated his reason for doing so – seems his lot had won a battle – he dropped dead.

    So he was a bit of a nutter who elected to not use a horse, nor to keep hydrated and his manly bits must have hurt terribly. Sort of the first case of someone to sell his soul to get a scoop out before anyone else.

    Lot’s of idiots trying that in Iraq and Syria, frequently fatally! 

    • I confess the Dublin Marathon would be slightly more interesting if they all had to do it in their pelt?  All those wobbly bits slopping around?  On second thoughts…….

  5. Long distance running buggers up your body – just ask Pheidippides.  Pheidi ran because he had to!  It was his job as a messenger soldier and he died doing it.  Looks like a very good reason to find a different hobby to me!  

  6. ” Why not give yourself six months of practice and learn to play the guitar ” – in my experience sports people tend to be rather philistine. like the neurons in the creative part of their brains  have been snipped 🙂

    Although Julio Iglesias was a goalkeeper before he became a singer.  always exceptions 😉

    • Is it my imagination, or do all sports people have the same voice?  They all seem to drone on on a single monotone without any inflexion or personality?  They all seem to have the same dead look in their eyes too?

  7. Totally off topic, but I just tried to access your site via my bookmark, and all I got was a white page with the rather chilling message: “You are banned” written at the top. I then went to Dick Puddlecote’s page and clicked on this page in the sidebar, and came straight here without a hiccup.


    • Humble apologies.  Though if you were banned I don’t know how you got in via DP’s place!

      Things should be back to normal now?

      • I got ye old “You are banned” sign as well today.  Tried to get in via NO but got the same message.  Had to go via startpage search which gave me the 18 Oct post but nothing else and the side bar to Martin Scriblers was blank. Back to normal now. 

  8. I’ve just dismantled my desktop for transport to my new abode, and I’m on the laptop now (not that it should make any difference as I’m still on the same router), and your page popped up from the bookmarks menu no problem.

    Maybe DP has a key to the back door? 🙂

    • You are right.  It’s the Interweb connection that’s affected in this case and not the device.  The plugin responsible has received a severe beating.

      DP should have a key!  I get a hell of a lot of my traffic from his place.

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