NOW THAT THE whole thing's over, I can go ahead and tell you:
The Rock ‘n' Roll part I totally get.
The Marathon part? Not so much.
Look, my people invented marathons. As we've seen, the Greeks are apparently not very good at applied macroeconomics, but we're well aware that the dude who ran the first marathon in history died seconds after finishing it.
Pheidippides had just enough time to gasp "We have won" -- meaning the Athenian army, not his cross-country team -- and then he was gone to the great gyro food truck in the sky.
I take that as a cautionary note!
(Indeed, one person apparently died during Saturday's Rock ‘n' Roll Marathon, though cause of death has not been determined. I mean no disrespect to the deceased when I say I could have told you something like that might happen.)
I'm happy the Rock ‘n' Roll Marathon was such a huge success, I really am. I constantly complain on this page about Savannah's inability to decide whether it should be a wannabe big city or a charming but parochial small one.
This is one case where the old girl flummoxed me: Savannah is the smallest market in which the Rock ‘n Roll Marathon has ever been run, and apparently we pulled it off with real big city panache.
I feel sure Savannah's extensive experience with the massive annual St. Patrick's Day celebration had everything to do with why the city was able to competently manage the daunting logistics of the Marathon.
St. Patrick's Day, however, is easy to relate to. It's about having fun, about culture, about history, about identity, about community. It's not about running until you can't run anymore, until you're -- not to put too fine a point on it -- close to death.
Don't get me wrong, I'm a huge sports fan. In the entire world of athletic competition, there are only two sports I have zero appreciation for: Mixed Martial Arts (sorry, two guys rolling on the ground squeezing each other does nothing for me) and the kind of racing where the horses pull the stupid little carts (if you can't be bothered to actually ride the horses, I can't be bothered to care).
And I certainly relate to sprinting, as opposed to running a marathon: Who has never tried to run faster than someone else?
But I will never understand the compulsion to run extremely long distances when you don't absolutely have to (Pheidippides, who was as much patriot as athlete, would no doubt agree with me).
To be clear: I have many friends and acquaintances who differ with me on this. For whatever reason, running is the most popular pastime -- if you can use that word for anything so torturous -- among a certain group of people in Savannah.
Running, it must be said, is all the rage.
I know plenty of them: Smart, well-educated, self-supporting people who I admire greatly, except for the strange disease they have which compels them to strap on a pair of probably too-expensive shoes, torture themselves for hours, and then tell everyone on Facebook about how great it felt and how much better "their time" is getting.
Your "time?" Let me tell you about your time: It's fleeting, and there might be better things you could be doing with it. Just my two cents...
I do have an abstract appreciation for people who take part in such a long, grueling and simple activity -- putting one foot slowly in front of the other, falling forward mile after mile -- and then compare time increments that differ by mere seconds, as if they were top fuel drag racers who just did a quarter mile at over 300 mph in the space of three heartbeats.
But I'm in the minority on the whole issue. And I realize Savannah is still a town where boosterism matters, where the local media speaks with one voice -- one very chipper, non-controversial voice -- and you don't usually want to be the one speaking out alone about anything.
Even nature disagrees with me, and is squarely on the side of the marathon mavens. Scientists say the only major physical advantage humans have over other animals is the ability to run very long distances.
We have no claws and no slashing teeth, no thick hide and no jumping ability, no camouflage and no wings.
A chimpanzee is as strong as an NFL lineman. A three-legged dog is as fast as an Olympic sprinter.
But nature did bestow humans, male and female, with a unique ability to run for longer distances than any other creature.
As someone else said once before, the gods must be crazy....
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