On I went, out of the wood, passing the man leading without knowing I was going to do so. Flip-flap, flip-flap, jog-trot, jog-trot, curnchslap-crunchslap, across the middle of a broad field again, rhythmically running in my greyhound effortless fashion, knowing I had won the race though it wasn't half over, won it if I wanted it, could go on for ten or fifteen or twenty miles if I had to and drop dead at the finish of it, which would be the same, in the end, as living an honest life like the governor wanted me to. -Alan Sillitoe, "Loneliness of the Long Distance Runner"

Monday, February 11, 2013

Spirit of the Marathon 2

Possible subtitles:
-"Because there's still money to be made off of you"
-"Setting it in a foreign country will make it seem like a new movie"
-"Why can't we all just run and not have to tell the world our STORY when we do?"
Any other suggestions?

Yes, you can probably guess from my sarcasm that I'm not a fan of the original movie.* Yes, I watched it, and no, I was not moved. Running is more than just something I do; it's part of who I am. That said, I do it for me. The marathon is a race. Maybe it's a 2 hour race, or a 4 hour one, or a 6 hour one, but what it's not (for me) is a metaphor: for life, for the human spirit, for some improbable journey.

If you want proof that anyone can run a marathon or if you need motivation, go and spectate at mile 24 of your nearest large marathon around the five hour mark. Chances are good that I'll waddle past, looking nearly dead. I'll be amongst my compatriots, the everymen. We're fat, or thin, or sick, or healthy; we've raised a lot of money for charity, or maybe we volunteer in our daily lives outside of running, or maybe we're selfish twats. We'll finish the marathon, or we won't, and we'll go back to our daily lives the next day same as ever.

Maybe this is me, but I feel like this focus on the everyday participants (not unlike myself) in the race takes attention away from the fact that it's a sport. I'll bet more people will watch this movie than will watch Mary Cain's super amazing performance two weeks ago when she shattered the high school two mile record. Shortly before that, she'd broken the one mile record - after taking her SATs that morning.

That said, I'll watch this movie, just like I watched the first. Anyone want to do a Spirit of the Marathon Marathon once it comes out? Popcorn and gatorade is on me!

*I also watched "Run for your Life," about Fred Lebow and the NYCM. The only thing I took out of that movie was that Fred really liked young girls. Not my kind of role model.


  1. But it's in Rome. The eternal city.

    1. My bad. Now I think it's a totally awesome idea and I can't wait to see it!
      Question is, then... where will they set Spirit 3?

  2. I still think watching movies about running is boring. I also think watching marathons on TV (save the last few miles) is boring.

  3. 1. I AM excited that it's in Rome. I love watching shit set in pretty, foreign places.

    2. I don't think the two have to be mutually exclusive. I liked the first one, and I'll watch the second one. I watched the first with a group of friends, and then, a few months later, we watched the olympic track trials together. The fast, elite part of the sport isn't lost on me, but it's never something I'll be, nor is it something I aspire to do. I am not sappy and unrealistic about running, but I do dig that it's a sport that is open and available to so many different skill levels.

    1. That's absolutely valid, and I remember that Spirit 1 included profiles of many professional runners. Running is just such an odd sport, in that it operates as both a poorly funded professional sport and also a extremely well-funded (well, money-making anyway) amateur sport. So random, small road races make tons of money, and then professional runners live like paupers. But you're right that they're not exclusive - I just wish that the professional side of running had the same profitability as the non-professional side!

    2. THAT is true. It fascinates me to see some of these mediocre runners in the blog world being flown and sponsored to run races, when people with legit talent get themselves there AND THEN WIN A RACE.

  4. I will watch the second one. It will entertain for for a few hours. Eh. I am getting sick of people forgetting that running is a SPORT. I don't care how fast you are you can still train and treat it like a sport. There are all levels of people in other sports that still enjoy participating. Running has become a mockery with sparkly tutus, people not training for races and people who find the meaning of life on an afternoon run. NO, just NO.