Monday, 14 April 2008

Marathons big and small

Yesterday saw the holding of two marathons - the World's largest (London) and possibly this country's smallest on the island of Tresco. Many years ago when I was really into road running I had applied to take part in the London event but with it being so heavily oversubscribed it wasn't surprising to be turned down. However I have managed to compete in (and finish!) four marathons in my two counties, this was before the Isles of Scilly event came into being.

I have hinted before about my total lack of prowess on the sports field and this particularly applies to ball games. Now I wouldn't pretend for a moment to be a class runner but as with walking I enjoyed the freedom that running gives. The fact that an extremely likable blonde lady living in the village at the time was no mean marathon runner has absolutely nothing to do with it!

So for a brief period I got caught up in the marathon mania and was pleased that I did - it certainly helped my confidence even though there was never the remotest chance of getting amongst the medals. I'm not sure now but think my personal best would have been around 3 hours 40 minutes, hardly fast enough to set the world alight but at least quick enough not to be placed last! One of the things that had special appeal to me about this sort of running is that it is a great leveller; I'm one of those people with an absolute core belief that everyone has a place in society whatever their background, education, social standing or talents. So in a marathon for instance you could have a road sweeper running alongside a brain surgeon - I like that concept.

Back to yesterday's events. A decade or two ago I would have been glued to the TV to watch the London Marathon. I don't have quite the same passion for it now. But in an age when one is constantly reminded about the vast number of things wrong in the World the two events yesterday restores one's faith in human nature. You only have to think about the colossal sums raised for charity by the runners, something the UK excels in, and the way one's confidence and self esteem are improved by participation.

A few comments now about the Tresco Marathon specifically. The event is always run in support of cystic fibrosis, the UK's most common life-threatening inherited disease. To cover the correct distance entails running seven and a half laps. The number of entrants are into three figures, somewhat fewer than London commands! In the men's class the winner was Bob Brown who hails from Callington which is about 5 miles from here. Fastest lady was Fiona Ruetsch from Penzance who I believe was running only her second marathon! Bob on the other hand has won this event before. A plus from this event would be the slight boost to the Scillies' economy, engendered by the run, which tends to be on a knife edge these days.

Congratulations to all that took part in these two events.

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