Marathons were invented by people who needed something new to brag about on the back of their cars.
After a while, talking about your honor student and how much you love your dog just doesn’t cut it anymore. So somebody decided that running 26 miles without dying was worth bragging about and invented stickers for that, too.
The marathon is a race that celebrates the triumph of the human spirit and also sheer idiocy. People will train for months in order to accomplish this absurd feat, dedicating that much time of their lives to jogging in a large elaborate circle.
The race gets its namesake from a battle the Ancient Greeks took part in. Many stories from Ancient Greece are mythological, filled with grandiose failures that the Greeks decided to celebrate. This story, however, appears to be entirely true, which makes the fact that the Greeks celebrated it even more impressive.
Pheidippides was a herald for the city of Athens. Back then, Greek cities ruled themselves and really only had a sort of alliance with other cities, which proved to be a great government system just so long as you never want to get any other city to help you out with anything.
The city of Athens was at war with the nation of Persia, who, if you know anything about history, was at war with everyone. When the Persians landed at Marathon, Greece, Pheidippides was tasked with the responsibility of running to Sparta, another Greek city, to get help. The only thing is, Sparta was 150 miles away, so Pheidippides had to start booking it.
Ol’ Pheidippides accomplished this task in a mere two days, which you would think earned him some vacation time. However, Athens apparently only had one messenger. Once Greek forces pushed back the mighty Persian army, they were so excited that they asked him to run back to Athens to spread the word.
So he ran from Marathon to Athens to spread the good news. 25 miles straight. He arrived, yelled, “Nenikékamen”, which means “We have won,” and then DIED.
Thus, the modern marathon race is to honor this action. That’s right, people willingly put themselves through the same thing that actually KILLED somebody. The marathon race is roughly the same as having an Electric Chair Endurance Competition.
The term “marathon” has become commonplace in our vernacular. Basically, if something is very long and tedious, it is a marathon. Same goes for showing many, many episodes of the same show being broadcast in a row. Basically, if something takes up far too much time of your life, it is a marathon.
But one must remember the root of the word. A marathon isn’t just something that takes place over an extended period of time. It’s a test of endurance. Of the human spirit. And also probably a test seeing just how far you need to go in order to just straight up die.
So run hard, like Pheidippides. Just try not to die hard, also like Pheidippides.
20 thoughts on “Marathons”
This is why I’m running a half-marathon before I go for the full-marathon; I’d like to live just a bit longer.
Also…gonna snag a 13.1 bumper sticker to go with my eventual 26.2 one!
I have a bumper sticker that just says, “00.0”
where did you get it?
People train and run marathons for the bumber sticker?
I always thought it was to increase the amount of athletic people in your circle of friends.
“See that awesome guy over there? Yeah, I ran a marathon with him.”
The emphasis in that sentence would be “I RAN A MARATHON with him.”
I LOL’d several times and I’m not even saying that just because I’m dating you.
The fact we’re dating doesn’t mean I’ll allow you to openly say “LOL’d”
Sorry, you’ve missed the point completely. The whole point of running any kind of race is so I can have something to blog about. Plain and simple.
No, that’s pretty much what I said.
walking the stairs at work is plenty of exercise for me, thankyouverymuch.
As always: I learned, I LOLed, Jackhammer. 😉
(Though as a I blogger myself, I might have worked in a “Madness?!?! This is running!!! Just sayin’).
Thought about it, but two factors stood in my way:
1. The story is about Athens, not Sparta
2. The movie was released far enough back that it wouldn’t be timely enough for me to want to work that hard. And if I have to work hard, it’s not worth it.
Some days I think it’s an absurd idea to DRIVE 26.2 miles. To RUN 26.2 miles? Not happening.
My brother finished an Ironman Triathlon a couple years ago. Running a marathon is inexplicable; participating in an Ironman is…I don’t even know.
Add your brother to the list of “people I don’t ever want to meet for the sole purpose of not hating myself any more than I already do.”
If anyone is curious, the list is long.
You pretty much summarized my feelings on marathons–and exercise in general. I’ll exercise, but only because I have to. A marathon just seems like overkill.
If there is no goal to it, I’m not interested. Like, running for the sake of running? No thanks. Running for the sake of trying to beat a defender to the basket for lay-up? I’m all over that.
But finishing a marathon? That’s a goal I don’t feel like trying to accomplish.
Exactly. Couldn’t have said it better myself. Are you reading my mind? =)
As I told some bearded idealist a while back, I don’t know a single person that started training for a marathon and didn’t finish it. And being a man in average physical condition with no major health issue, I think it’s safe to assume if I wanted to run a marathon, I could. Which is why the sticker on my car says “26.2, Probably”
“26.2, If I WANTED To”