Friday, May 6, 2016

May 6: Abebe Bikila, Nick Flynn, "Marathon"

A friend of mind is running her first 5K race tomorrow morning.  She's nervous, even though she's probably in better shape than 80 percent of the people who will be running with her.  I understand, though.  No matter how many races I've run, I still get sick to my stomach before the starter's pistol goes off.

I haven't been running much for a while.  I need new shoes, but I can't afford to get them.  (My shoe of choice costs about $180 a pair.)  It bothers me that the weather is turning warm and I can't run.  I have friends who've run in the Boston Marathon.  (One of my friends was about fifteen or twenty minutes away from the finish line when the bombs went off in 2013.)  I know that, if I run in my current shoes, I will end up injuring myself.  So, I'm sidelined for the time being.

Nick Flynn, who's from Boston, wrote an incredibly moving poem about the Boston Marathon bombings.  Somehow, for me, it really captures the spirit of sport.  The drive that most runners feel.  Always moving forward, into the clouds.

Maybe Saint Marty will go running barefoot.  It worked for Abebe Bikila.  Twice.


by:  Nick Flynn

on a river, a tree in blossom, one
pink bud—unopened—falls

& is carried downstream & out
to sea. From

above the other petals seem to 
carry it. Closer—

this is our map, these our
footprints, we

grew up drinking this water. At the
start there

was doubt, we lit a torch, no one
believed we would

make it. Closer—

the legs, the heart, the lungs. It's
too soon to say

we were lucky, it's too soon to say

until the cloud is pulled back
from the sky, until the ringing is

pulled back from the bells. Look—
everyone we've ever known

runs without thinking
not away but into the cloud, where we are

Abebe Bikila winning the marathon at the 1960 Rome Olympics

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