Friday, November 21, 2014

Doing the marathon

Some 14,600 people set off in Dublin City Marathon.
Just 12,267 cross the finish line hours and hours later.

For the first time, I am one of them. I walk though many run.

In the weeks that follow, emails pour in offering me photographs of myself in the race.

No thanks.

Nobody looks good in a marathon, except the elite running at the front as if everyone is chasing them, as they are.

People head off in great spirits.
Some end that way, others contemplate their own mortality on the journey and become introverted.

I pass a Lego man who started out so well. His outfit has become dysfunctional and is upended on a park bench for repair as I pass by.

The roads are strewn with the bodies of runners who listened to their memory rather than their present-day fitness. Voluntary ambulance people rush about to attend to self-administered malfunctions of the corpus.

The route is geared towards runners, I come to realise as I saunter along.
Each time I approach a water station or a local musician hired to create atmosphere they are packing up to go home.

Your time is up, their body language says.
Mine says keep going.

I do.

A solitary woman stands at the most difficult point of the marathon and claps like a crowd of one.
I almost propose to her dear heart in gratitude.

At the finish, I run a little to show I still have it.

A man on a public address shouts at me to stop running for I passed over the finish line a distance behind.

A barrier of women in official clothing place medals on ribbons on our heads like the champions we are.

My time was too slow but I know what to do next year.

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