In the Long Run


26.2 is all you have to do.   

By Luke Robinson

Marathons are so cool. All those determined athletes grouped up to nearly-sprint from Chelsea to Sylacauga while their feet ache and their nipples bleed for the sole purpose of scratching the accomplishment off of their bucket list. 

It takes months of training and sacrifice to prepare one’s body for a marathon’s grind. The sheer willpower and dedication required to run a race like that makes anyone who has ever even attempted one a bona fide badass in my book.

But, I have always wondered: Why is a marathon 26.2 miles long?

Doesn’t that number seem rather random? Was 26.3 miles just too dang long and 26.1 just barely not enough? 

Well, thanks to the Internet, I found out why that odd distance is what it is.

It seems in 490 B.C., a Greek soldier named Pheidippides—his friends called him “Phil” I am sure—ran the approximately 26 miles from the city of Marathon, Greece all the way to Athens to announce the defeat of the Persian army. Sure, it would have been easier to text the news, but Marathon had the worst cell service back then.

Once the achingly tired Phil arrived in Athens, he screamed “Niki!”, which is “victory” in Greek, at the top of his deflated lungs. He then keeled over immediately and died.

Poor, poor Phil.

In that regard, I guess Pheidippides and I have a lot in common: If I ever ran 26.2 miles, I would scream something in Greek and then meet my maker, too.

Of course, the point is moot since I couldn’t run 26.2 miles if you moved the decimal point two places to the left. I need a massage after DRIVING 26.2 miles for Zeus’ sake!

Anyhoo, speaking of marathons, Birmingham has one coming up very soon. On April 15th, the inaugural BHM26.2 race will take place in the Magic City’s downtown. And when I say “downtown,” I mean “alllllll of downtown.”

You see, this particular race will have no repeats routes or loops. Nope; this marathon will feature fresh Birmingham scenery with each sweaty step for the entire 138,336 feet. That’s a first for our city. 

If by chance you do not feel confident you can make a marathon’s entire distance, there are other racing options. There will be a half-marathon, a team relay and a fun run. I have also petitioned to have a “Robinson Race” available where one gets credit for having run in the race without, you know, actually having run in the race.

The marathon will begin and end at Railroad Park, and when it is over there will be an after-party with food from Jim-N-Nick’s BBQ and  entertainment from the producers of The Black Jacket Symphony bringing the ultimate party band experience, Party of the Year!

There will also be a “kids’ zone” so that your rug rats will hopefully get as worn out as some of the racers.

If the bragging rights alone aren’t enough to incentivize your participation, do it for the children. All proceeds from the BHM26.2 marathon will go to benefit Magic Moments and the Alabama Center for Childhood Cancer and Blood Disorders at Children’s of Alabama. Those two charities are worth far more than a few blisters; they deserve (and wholeheartedly appreciate) your attention, time and money.

So buy a new pair of running shoes, a pair of futuristic sunglasses and some of those shorty-jogging-shorts and get ready to run April 15th!

Hey, I just remembered: April 15th is very close to Tax Day this year. Maybe the running will help relieve some of your financial frustration too!

One Response to “In the Long Run”

  1. Melanie says:

    It’s all about the journey…

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