Some of you who read this blog regularly will know that I live in the Midlands’ greatest city, Nottingham. People who didn’t know that, well, now you do. Nick Mann is a Nottingham lad born and bred and I’m going to see Sleaford Mods at rock City in November just to prove it!
The weekend just gone was the Robin Hood Marathon and Half Marathon. Since the birth of my first young un, I have tried to do the half marathon each year as motivation to stay fit and be available for my children as they grow up. I’ve succeeded except for two years where illness and a stag do prevented participation.
This year was the same as always, thousands of people putting themselves through hell for different reasons. Most to raise money. I’ve done loads of them and consider myself a veteran.
For this race, I ran with a friend, I say ran, we ran separately and rendezvoused at the end. As we walked to the bus stop after the race, we were both awed by how much goodwill floats around this event. Everyone taking part is friends with everyone who is spectating or marshalling. All walks of life have a go at this event. Every colour, religion, sex, race, whatever, all human life is found here. And, whilst running those miles, every person has nothing but love and respect for each other. I am labouring the point, but I have to, because, if you haven’t done it, you can’t really understand the togetherness of this event. I imagine that every half marathon, marathon, 10k and park run, or any endurance race for that matter has the same vibe.
What’s my point then? Well, an event with over 15,000 people occurred. There was no violence, no chanting, no bullshit, just love, support and respect. My running buddy and me discussed this at length. How so? How can there be that much harmony? Well, I think it is because we are all there for the same reason. Everyone taking part, no matter how fit, able or disabled they are, are going through the same thing. It is punishing, it is tiring, and it is fun. A big race like that, has many highs and lows and by the time you get to the end, you’re ready to finish.
Surely marathons and half marathons are therefore a metaphor? Right? Isn’t that just life? But in life we don’t see eye to eye. There are bullshit prejudices, hatred, jealousy, misogyny and bigotry. On any normal day we hardly speak to anyone we don’t know let alone passionately encourage a stranger to keep on keeping on. What the actual fuck is wrong with the human race? The lessons are there, the metaphor is accurate. Could you imagine if we all just woke up, ignored the media bullshit, the race for material gain, took no notice of next door’s new car or whatever bollocks they’re up to. And we just ran the marathon together?
Naïve, yep. A bit woolly? Probably. But think about it, take part in one of those races, feel the love and the respect. It’s not impossible, if you tune out of the white noise and focus on the journey, we could all get on. That race and thousands like it, in every city, in every country around the world proves it. I’m going to take part in these events for as long as I can, because for at least one day a year I want to inhale that harmony, I want to inhale it like a drug.