NYC Marathon Weeks 6-8

mo-farah-rio-olympics-gold-medal-10kMo Farah has just won the gold medal in the Olympic 10,000m race. Unlike the swimming when I can just scrape in at under double the time of the olympians, or to put it another way I can cover just over half the distance in the same amount of time, I can’t even meet that modest goal in the running. 10km takes me about 2.5 times as long as it takes Mo Farah, even when he’s having an off day. Or assuming he can keep the pace up, by the time I get to 10km he’d be half way to lapping me for the third time at 25km. Amazing. The Rio marathon is next week, and I bet the winner won’t take over 5 hours…

Talking of the Olympics, it’s apparently Edward VII’s fault that the marathon is 42.2km. Legend has it that Pheidippides, the ancient greek messenger, ran the 26 miles from the Battle of Marathon to Athens to carry the news that the Persians had been defeated, shouted “Nike!” (not his favoured brand of running shoes but greek for Victory!), and then promptly died. That is probably more myth than history as the only record of Pheidippides is running 140 miles to Sparta to get the help of the Spartans in the battle with the Persians at Marathon. Thankfully when Pierre de Coubertain revived the olympic games in 1896 his friend Michel Bréal suggested that there should be a running race to commemorate the original olympics with a distance of 40km, or just under 25 miles, and not 140 miles. The Napoleonic influence of the kilometre wasn’t appreciated at the 1908 Olympics held in London, and they chose 26 miles, starting from Windsor Castle and finishing with a lap of the track at White City. However they changed the arrangements so that the finish would be in front of the Royal Box, and the distance of 26 miles and 385 yards, or 42.2km has been used ever since.

We got through just over half of that yesterday, running out to Five Dock and back, a journey more easily achieved by car. I certainly couldn’t have carried on running for the same again, but I could have gone on a little bit further, and I feel an awful lot less achy and done in than I have done after previous half marathons. I don’t think I can quite say “only” a half marathon yet, but it’s almost like that. A “recovery” week next week with “only” 14km next weekend, followed by 24, 27, and 29km, before we do the Blackmores “only” Half Marathon as a “recovery” run.

84 days to go…

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