Archive for the ‘Marathon’ Category

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Image courtesy of David L. Ryan, Boston Globe.

The first marathon began with death. It ended with death, as well.  In 490 BC, the Greek messenger Pheidippides ran from Marathon to Athens to inform his countrymen that their army had held and defeated an invading Persian force. According to legend, after completing the 40 kilometer run, Pheidippides collapsed and died.

When you ask runners, they’ll tell you that every step of a marathon is about death, about dying to yourself, your comfort, and your physical desire to rest. In the immediacy and reality of two bombs being detonated near the finish line of Monday’s Boston Marathon, the history and metaphors attached to the marathon are distant, but eerily relevant. As a result of the explosions, the most recent reports indicate that three people are dead (including an eight-year-old boy) and 140 people are wounded.

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BH6fCgFCQAERWMBTwo explosions were detonated near the finish line of the Boston Marathon leaving three dead (including an eight-year-old boy) and as many as 140 injured. According to some reports, one of the dead is a child. Graphic images of blood stained sidewalks began circulating on social media shortly after the violent eruptions.

The two successive explosions occurred two hours after the main competitors had completed the circuit, but while 10,000 were still on the course, including several runners just approaching the finish.

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Mo Farah won two Olympic track and field gold medals last summer in the 5,000 metres and 10,000 metres. He also happens to be the current European and World champion at the shorter distance. For two years straight, Farah has been named the European Athlete of the Year, and at the end of 2012, he was appointed Commander of the Order of the British Empire for services to athletics. After finding so much success at these distances, Farah is looking for new challenges, attempting to move up to competitive marathons.

For most intents, and likely even more purposes, he’s a pretty big deal. So, when WDSU anchor LaTonya Norton, out of New Orleans, asked the European, World and Olympic champion runner, “Haven’t you run before? This isn’t your first time?” he probably had a case for feeling somewhat slighted. Consider that the runner had just won a half-marathon by completing the course in just over an hour, and you could likely forgive Farah for walking away from the interview or adopting a more condescending tone with the television personality.

However, if Farah is a great runner, his patience and humility make him an even greater person. Instead of reacting negatively to the television presenter’s lack of awareness, he politely completed the awkward interview despite it most likely being a complete and utter waste of his time.

As for Norton, I realize not every newscaster is Will McAvoy, but the most perfunctory of internet searches by her or her team would’ve revealed Farah’s status, and saved the anchor from what is turning into international embarrassment.