What is the opposite of yesterday’s post about the sedate, gentlemanly pursuit of chess? Why, it’s the Olympic marathon! Whereas in chess you sit and stare, Olympic marathon requires you to run (the opposite of sitting) and hallucinate (the opposite of determined concentration). Why is running such an important part of Olympic marathoning? That’s how you get to the end of the race. Why is hallucinating such an important part of long-distance running?
It’s a psychological issue- your sense of reality after mile nine or 10 is replaced with a desire to make up for the only thought going through your head, “I’ve made a big mistake“. The mistake, of course, is agreeing to answer your nation’s call to train endless hours, give up any sort of love life, and miss out on your children’s birthdays in pursuit of a medal* you’ll probably sell to make up for the money you could have made to support your family if you hadn’t agreed to become an Olympic athlete in the first place. In running circles this is known as the regret wall which serves to help marathoners endure their present misery. It’s almost as important as running downhill.
The fellow‘s name pictured above is Spyridon “Spyder”** Louis of Greece. He entered, ran and won the marathon in the first modern Olympic games held in 1896***. He is shown wearing traditional Greek clothing typical of that era. It took me a while to find a picture of him not wearing his traditional garb otherwise I would have had to assume those were his running clothes. I found this photo of him running the race.
Look at those knobby knees!
There’s not much else to write about him but Wigglepedia does state –
After his victory, Louis received gifts from many countrymen, ranging from jewellery to a lifelong free shave at a barber shop. It is unknown whether Louis accepted all these gifts, although he did take back home the carriage he had asked of the king. After the Olympics, Louis ended his athletic career to become a farmer and a police officer.
He was also arrested for having committed a crime but spent only a year in jail but no biggie.
1-3 Do you see what this means—all these pioneers who blazed the way, all these veterans cheering us on? It means we’d better get on with it. Strip down, start running—and never quit! No extra spiritual fat, no parasitic sins. Keep your eyes on Jesus, who both began and finished this race we’re in. Study how he did it. Because he never lost sight of where he was headed—that exhilarating finish in and with God—he could put up with anything along the way: Cross, shame, whatever. And now he’s there, in the place of honor, right alongside God. When you find yourselves flagging in your faith, go over that story again, item by item, that long litany of hostility he plowed through. That will shoot adrenaline into your souls!
*only the top three runners even get one and of those only first place’s gold medal is worth anything. Silver and bronze? Ha! Give me a break.
**and for Pete’s sake! whatever you do do NOT mention spiders to Susan.
***did calendars even exist back then?