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Watch the Olympics ? “I’d sooner run a mile!”

Posted by Big John on April 14, 2008

I see that a lady with the good old German name of Mikitenko won yesterday’s London Marathon, and some old boy who is supposed to be 101 years old completed the course, although some reporters believe that he is only ninetyfour. Perhaps he was spurred on by the spears of those Masai warriors, even if the blades of these deadly weapons were sheathed for the sake of ‘elf and safety’.

I must say that I admire all those thousands of people who take part in this and other similar events to raise money for charity, although I have never been able to understand what motivates the likes of Ms. Mikitenko.

Running has always been an anathema to me ever since my schooldays, when dressed in vest and shorts, I was forced to run around the small park adjacent to my school in all kinds of weather, encouraged by the bullying shouts of some warmly dressed teacher. I was similarly attired a few years later when running through the villages and countryside near my RAF training camp. It always gave the locals a good laugh to see a bunch of sweating young men ‘pounding’ along the high street wearing baggy shorts and with heavy black hobnailed boots at the end of their skinny white legs.

Whenever I go for a walk along the seashore near my home, I am usually passed by panting people who look like they are about to drop dead from exhaustion or a heart attack at any moment, and I wonder why they torture themselves in such a way ? Pushing yourself to this sort of limit seems such a weird thing to do.

I did once know a ‘top class’ athlete, who ran for Great Britain alongside such ‘greats’ as Chris Chatterway and Roger Bannister (the 1st man to run the ‘4 minute mile’). I shared an RAF billet with this bloke, and he was seriously ‘weird’. When he wasn’t sleeping in his stinking bed he was running. He seemed to live in smelly sweat stained tracksuits, apart from when he went on leave wearing his Great Britain team blazer. He hardly ever spoke to anyone and avoided contact with us ‘lesser mortals’, who were enjoying ourselves with the then normal pursuits of smoking, drinking and chasing young women, while he was running along the muddy country lanes, stopwatch in hand, pursuing some new record or other. He was totally dedicated and totally bonkers !

I am sure that I am not in the minority in this country when I say that I couldn’t care less if one person can run faster than another, and yet it has been estimated that £20 billion could be spent on the 2012 London Olympics. Much of this money will come from the National Lottery which means that many charities will lose out. It makes me angry to think that so much money can be wasted when so much is needed by so many ‘good causes’.

Wouldn’t it be nice if just 5% of that £20 billion could be diverted to all those charities featured in the London Marathon, so that next year all those ‘fun runners’ would be able to stay at home and put their feet up …

…     just like me !   😀


3 Responses to “Watch the Olympics ? “I’d sooner run a mile!””

  1. Red Baron said

    I confess whilst I want to take my kids to the Olympics to see the swimming, table tennis and badminton I think the way it has been handled and financed is a bloody shambles. For the taxation to be levied and the good causes to lose out whilst business stands to milk the profits is typical of the way the last 2 governments here have operated.

  2. Like many people, I was put off athletics at school. It was the vicious circle of not being very good at it and therefore never being selected for anything and therefore remaining not very good.

    However, we did go running, the “we” being myself and a gaggle of similar no-hopers. This was because we discovered that it was permissible, instead of playing football or cricket, to run around the school’s “cross-country” running route and then to go home having done so.

    So off we would go, not very fast, chatting as we went. The only problem was that the last quarter of a mile took us past the girls’ school. Uh-oh. If any of the girls were outside, we were in trouble. Dancing in a ring around us calling out ribald comments was the least we could expect…

    I have never run since, except for the occasional dash to catch the bus or tube. Opinions seem divided as to whether regular jogging and running improve health and prolong life. Assuming that exercise is good for you, I admire those hardy souls who turn out in all weathers to hone their bodies to heathy perfection but I have no intention of emulating them.

    As for the Olympics, I consider it vain political posturing. It is hypocritical to say that we somehow gain from it. All we gain is massive debts that we taxpayers will have to pay. I deeply resent London taking on the Games and plan to be out of London for the duration. We are looking for some quiet spot where we will not be bombarded with “news” about it all day long.

  3. As you know Vancouver, my home town, is featuring the 2010 Winter Olympics and the local city, provincial and federal government are showering us with money for speed skating ovals, sky jump hills, and bob sled tracks, etc. etc. plus infrastructure goodies like building a super highway so the rich can get to their condos at the ski resorts in forty minutes instead of the hour it takes now.
    The corporate world is busy buying up all the inexpensive housing throwing out their tenants on to the street while the provincial government is setting up a mini concentration camp to keep them in hiding when the stupid rich come for their ten day party.

    I used to be a jock in my salad days but not like the sweaty creature you had in your group. We participated in the partying and girl chasing just like you.


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