Nobody can ignore the fact that hundreds of thousands of women and men take the city to run 42 kilometers or try to do it – there are poetry and meaning – they can raise the occasional protest. Angry bubbles within the car society, which do not stop the determination to run further every day. The Marathon is the biggest ceremony.
At first, lonely street runners or club athletes, in a way the Cinderella of feverish and intoxicating sports with a focus on football. But in a few decades hundreds of thousands were transformed who dared to put on their shoes, and to the street. It began to be noticed that he could not only respond to the challenge against himself that he contains, but also encompass other areas: running as well as a source of pleasure and the detoxification or anguish that freedom cures. It is not a finding that the one who runs does so in radiant freedom and that prompts an inescapable introspection: the runner talks to himself. Run, think, don’t stop, tap, tap, tap, change, become another, improve in other aspects of life. It’s what running friends tell me. A decision that is not silly and that becomes a necessity rain or shine, cold or heat: “I would rather separate than stop running, if it presents itself as an inconvenience.”
It is very useful and fun “what do I talk about when I talk about running”. Aruki Murakami’s book has very practical formulas and recommendations. Those who, like one, are trained to be sedentary can be read without getting bored. The Japanese writer has participated in twenty marathons, each of them the distance between Marathon and Athens when a soldier died on arrival and gave information against the Persians. The one set for the modern olympic games
The loneliness of the long-distance runner, the novel by Alan Sillitoe, fell into my hands around the age of eleven, twelve. It produced emotion and the irreplaceable dialogue between a reader and what he reads like few times. Luck comes to be shot as a film with the direction of Tony Richardson, the great Tom Courtney as the boy working class interned in a reformatory school whose director is Michael Redgrave, severe but able to understand how he fights to run, alone, in front of those who have offered you the dice. Yes: the tap, tap, tap on the fall leaves as the start titles fall. I have not forgotten.
It is that cinema and literature call for the idea of running and putting aside the spoiled issue of our existence. Nothing to discuss: running is poetic. To silence the anger if the city is taken over by the human factor, by the deadly corridors that will not survive the buildings and avenues.
You may have seen Marathon Man, with Lawrence Oliver and Dustin Hoffman, but you are always on time. A political thriller where the runner (Hoffman) is tortured by a Nazi dentist who drills his teeth without anesthesia. Director Schlesinger did things very well.
Forrest Gump is on top. The central character (Tom Hanks), sitting on a bus bench, tells a boy about his life. It seems to have some delay today, one would say cognitive, but no: what is told is wonderful and the film drips with art and art entertainment. Running, running a lot, leads to the adventure of stepping on Earth and may be the protagonist of the plot. Real blockbuster, some naive and fast phrases passed into common language. Same as the guiding idea, don’t give up.
While running the Marathon, I was thinking yesterday of Chariots of Fire, the competitors of two worlds in the same world and the same goal: to run and win. Vangelis’s music still plays often. I was thinking of Hussein Bolt in his admirable test that passes in a breath and is a star of athletics. The one from Jamaica ran and played. It is sworn that by some gene like messenger of the Jamaicans they run like nobody can: they fled to the race of the barracks where they were crowded like slaves. Try to believe him. It is not just Bolt: women and men of the island achieve it at great speed as with a certain grace that makes them recognizable when you see them.
I was thinking of Jesse Owens and the 1936 Berlin Olympics. Four medals for Hitler’s fury and hatred when he retired without saluting the fabulous black athlete. And in Abebe Bikila, the winner of the Marathon in Rome 60, barefoot, the first African champion and vindicator of Mussolini’s brutality there, in Ethiopia. Abebe Bikila repeated Tokyo in ’64. He was thinking of the Creole Delfo Cabrera, winner of the marathon with his medal in London 1948.
As Buenos Aires ran, Emil Zátopek, the Czech locomotive, came to me. That man who used each and every one of his cells when running, was honored and made a hero during Soviet rule. By adhering to the Prague Spring, the stirring popular uprising in front of the Russian tanks, he was humiliated, forced into shameful repentance and forced to work as a street sweeper. I add that there is a highly recommended book, “Correr, the life of Emil Zátopek” – not quite a biography – short, ironic, emotional signed by Jean Echenoz.
It should not be by chance that when the long quarantine was decreed, the runners were the first to leave. Not because the pandemic did not exist or because it was denied, but because they pointed out that nothing good could come out of a large cage. It doesn’t take much to run. “Zapas”, training, gradual effort. It is not necessary to be admirable. Let each one travel to his own center. With powerful strides or slowly to recover and squeeze the days when noticing that you breathe and move forward.