A Grain of Sand

The marathon is just a little grain of sand on an endless empty beach. But take this grain on your finger tip and dig the lens from your pocket. Do you now notice the sharp edges and the reflected light breaking in its sides so that the grain shines like a diamond? It’s neither a lost child nor the emerald of the kings crown, it’s just a marathon race. It’s a time gone by and, as if it were a totally meaningless emptiness, we summarize it not by the minerals it contains, but only by its borders in the dimension of time.

Two hours, twenty eight minutes and forty seconds.

What does it tell you? Nothing, I guess. It might sound fast to you or slow, but nothing beyond. Would you run marathons only to create a number? You might as well choose a day to die or select a partner because of her family name so that it fits to yours on your tombstone.

So let me describe to you the quartz and the basalts in this little grain of sand, let me tell you about the marathon of Hamburg beyond numbers and facts. Let me first tell you about the waking up at 5 o’clock and the breakfast which was served in our hotel room. How much do you eat so that you don’t get empty during the race nor get pain in your stomach? Do you take the U-bahn train or do you walk all the way to the start? And let me tell you about the Japanese Yuki Kawauchi who was among us in the elite field of the race. He is the only world class athlete who runs more than ten marathons each year and many of them below two-hours-ten, which is beautiful, even more because Matti mentally prepares for the marathon by reading this book about Japanese marathoners written by a Finn and this books seems to be full of facts or lies and other stories about Japanese runners and that’s why it is the Japanese running book and the Japanese they are crazy runners and so on.

I started the race out real slow with legs that were protesting but they shut up and I could go faster and then suddenly I flew with the birds and I was sure that I ran an incredible race with mighty powers but at the same time you fear that this flying machine of you will crash so if it crashes let it crash late so you continue and count every kilometer because the powers still lasted this far.

But then it starts. The other guys who ran behind you they pass by and your legs they don’t want to come with them but you tell them that they have to so they do and you run in front again because it feels better to you but a few kilometers later those guys pass by you again and they gain meters and meters and meters and the road is still so long but you know that Matti, the one reading in Finnish about the Japanese, you know that he is behind you and you want to keep it like that because he is a good friend and those good friends are te ones to fight against so you do and you feel the blood coming out of your body on different places but you forget about that pain because you just look hard for energy and you find a hidden source so you continue. Still you count the kilometers, much slower now, and you repeat the number that you have left behind and you just continue and you realise this thing is so small, this grain of sand, but you know they measure it and nobody looks at the beach so you continue in order to let it  be fine when put into numbers.

Two twenty eight forty.

And in the evening you fly back to Finland with pain in your legs and the sun sets while you are above the thin clouds and this is such a weird thing if you think about it, and when you see through the holes in the clouds the line, thousands of feet below, between the dark sea and the dark coast, you know it is a beach. Who really cares about these grains of sand? But still, you think, maybe I take another chance two weeks ahead.

Hamburg Marathon
Hamburg Marathon 2014, photo by Jeroen Deen

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