p pol The Adventures of Carboman: The Marathon

Thursday, December 11, 2008

The Marathon

As much as the distance provides the allure to the masses, the appeal of the marathon, at least to me, lies in something more intrinsic. I'm lousy with words, so let's take the story of Tsegaye Kebede as an illustration. If you follow the sport, Kebede, 21, was the 3rd placed finisher of the Beijing Olympic Marathon. Just last Sunday he demolished the course record of the prestigious, elite-only Fukuoka Marathon with a 2:06.10 finish, wiping off Sammy Wanjiru's 2:06.39 no less. If you don't know who Wanjiru is by now, you must've been living under a rock - the man, just a year older than Kebede, is now hotter than The Great Man himself! Read here.

Kebede's background as mentioned in the World Marathon Majors website states that he:

"was born in Gerar Ber, 42 kilometers north of Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, the fifth of 13 children. His family was exceedingly poor and Kebede struggled to get by, earning less than US $1 a day by gathering firewood and later working as a herder. Just before his first marathon in Addis Ababa a bus he was riding on went off the road, severely injuring several passengers, but Kebede escaped with just a small leg wound and he went on to win the race.

"I am living in a dream," Kebede said when he learned he would run for Ethiopia in Beijing. "This is so big and so important for me. I did not obsess about it all my life, although I wanted to run for my country in the Olympics. I am just surprised that it has come early."

There are many stories like Kebede's. Much like our journey through life, the marathon is fraught with challenges, setbacks and struggles. From commoners to the elites, many marathoners see the race as a way to prove that they can still succeed after all the struggles that they've gone through. The marathon is a paradox and because of this, it's intriguing. But the marathon brings about dangers as much as the hope it offers. If you underestimate it. The marathon teaches you the value of patience and hard work better than your high school teacher.

While many run it to prove that they can succeed in something they do,
equally many run the race to celebrate something - remission from cancer for example - or to dedicate the race to a love one (insert Marci's post). I ran one of the KL Marathons to celebrate the birth of my son. People run the marathon for a reason, much unlike the "Since I've nothing to do that weekend, I might as well run the 10K" mindset.

I forgot who first said it but this quote is very appropriate - "The marathon is so much more than 42K. It is the sum of who we are in one challenge". Not only does the quote captures the essence of the marathon but it is also a statement of challenge - dare you find out who you are, and what you're capable of achieving? What will you find out about yourself?

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  • The quote, you said it lah. Try google it and see what happens. :)Very inspiring post to people who have already forgotten they can run the marathon.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 10:07 AM  

  • wanna run another marathon, you bet I will do it again !!!! i am starting to enjoy even more running a marathon now especially without time pressure.

    Note: More importantly u must have running buddies training with you.

    By Blogger C-CUBE, at 2:16 PM  

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