Harrison recently agreed to run a marathon with three friends to raise money for The Power of Nutrition and increase awareness of the global issue of undernutrition.
I’ve been thinking a lot about Philippides recently, and his curious decision to run from Marathon to Athens after the Greeks defeated the Persians at the Battle of Marathon in 490 BC to inform the capital of the Greek victory. Legend has it that upon arrival he exclaimed ‘Vενικήκαμεν’ (‘We have won’), before promptly collapsing and dying right there on the spot. His inauspicious demise has since become the inspiration for millions of people since to do the exact same thing, but live to tell the tale.
Did Athens need to know so soon after the battle had been won? Could the poor man not have been given a horse? Were his Birkenstock Air Plato 1 Sandals appropriate footwear for the presumably bumpy terrain ahead? These questions are keeping me up at night.
I guess the point of all this musing is to ascertain why people put themselves through the months of training to run a very demanding race for which your knees don’t forgive you for days. Sure, I imagine that finishing feeling can’t be topped by much else, and the badge of honour as you strut (or hobble) back into the office the following day must be one of the more coveted experiences of an otherwise mundane work day. Similarly, both Eliud Kipchoge and Brigid Kosgei’s heroics over the weekend have no doubt inspired many to dust the cobwebs off their old running shoes from the darkest depths of the closet. But running a marathon is an inherently bizarre undertaking. I think that much is incontestable.
Why else might people do it? From my perspective, I’m running for two reasons.
Firstly, it’s in Maine, and from what I hear, there aren’t many more beautiful places on Earth than New England in Autumn. (I’m also yearning for some clam chowder).
Secondly, and most importantly, a marathon is an impressive enough event that people will sponsor you to run for a charity of your choosing, and I am very proud to be running for The Power of Nutrition, a foundation which raise funds to improve nutrition for mothers children in sub-Saharan Africa and Asia. Maybe, me running this race, will allow a child to run a marathon in the future who might otherwise not have been able. How could I say no to that? Nutrition surely is one of the things we take the most for granted. For others vastly less fortunate, it’s literally of life-or-death importance.
So, for my American readers, why pay for that overpriced cocktail when you can get Two-Buck Chuck from Trader Joe’s and give the remaining $18 to a child who might (and does) desperately need it? And for my countrymen and women across the pond, can you pass on the Itsu Bento Box for one lunch and settle for a Tesco Meal Deal for the same reason (I recommend the Southern Fried Chicken Wrap, with McCoy’s Salt & Vinegar Crisps and a Ribena – unbeatable combo)? It would mean a great deal to me and even more to the children it’s going to.
In other news, The Power of Nutrition has graced me, Paul, Josh, and Anuj, my running partners, with some bright purple tops, in keeping with the foundation’s colours, and incredibly short shorts. Full photoshoot photographs to come.
Although training is slowing down to give my poor little leggies a rest before the big day, I wish I’d paid more attention to runner essentials lists plastered all over the internet. Note to self, and to anyone else who’s reading: buy industrial quantities of Vaseline before partaking in any kind of strenuous running regiment. Your inner thighs and nether regions will be in eternal gratitude. Unfortunately, I learned the hard way, and without going into too much detail, not even the Battle of Marathon could replicate the carnage that ensued.
On that painful note, it’s time for me to think some more about poor old Philippides in Greek philosopher-style pensiveness, and about the children that The Power of Nutrition does such a sterling job to help. In a few days, I’ll be well into the eight-hour drive up to Maine. Speak then, and maybe consider Vaseline futures instead of Gold during your next portfolio reshuffle.
We are thrilled to have a team running the Mount Desert Island Marathon this month in support of The Power of Nutrition. You can support them by donating through their official fundraising page below.
Thank you for your support,
The Power of Nutrition