Sunday, March 14, 2010

Athens Beckons!


I would be lying if I say I ‘always’ wanted to run the Athens Marathon (Greece), because until a few months back I didn’t even know it existed.


But the fact is, once I heard about it I knew I wanted to be there (Thanks to my friend Srini, who brought it to my notice). It’s going to be the mother of all marathons and I am sure running in Athens will be an experience of a lifetime! (I know..I know..I had said the same thing about my Europe backpacking trip). But, there are lots of things in this world which can be an ‘experience of a lifetime’.


A Marathon for me is not just a sport. It’s a test. It’s a way I can consistently prove to myself that I have the will power to take on everything in this world. Believe me when I say it’s not just about stamina and fitness, especially for someone who doesn’t train for it. It’s a major test of resilience and a huge factor in running marathons is the ‘will’ to finish it. I am really passionate about it!


If we look at all the major Olympic events, the Marathon Race stands out because it was born by a real historic and heroic event. The Athens Marathon itself has a lot of history to it. The history dates back to 2500 years. This year they will be celebrating the 2500th anniversary of the “Battle of Marathon”. The battle was fought between the invading Persians and the Greeks (490BC). The Greeks sought the help of the Spartans by sending a foot soldier (Pheidippides) to Sparta. He ran 240 km (150 miles) in two days but was told they will not be able to help due to some superstitious reason (Remember the movie ‘300’? :)). He then ran back to convey the bad news. He again ran 42.195 Km (that’s how the ‘Full Marathon’ got its distance), from the battlefield near the town of Marathon to Athens to announce the Greek victory over Persia, when the Battle of Marathon was won with the word "Νενικήκαμεν" (Nenikékamen, 'We have won') and collapsed and died on the spot because of exhaustion. Apparently the Greeks would have burnt their city if they hadn’t won within the deadline and hence it was necessary for Pheidippides to run back and convey the good news (Otherwise they would have assumed they had lost and burnt the city).


There goes the story of the origin of ‘Marathon’, though don’t ask me why they didn’t send multiple soldiers or soldiers on horse back etc. I don’t want to add speculation to the story…:)


Anyway coming back to my participation, I am glad to say I already have company for this race. My friends Srini (a marathon freak who introduced me to Athens Marathon and also booked on my behalf) and Karthik (another marathon freak..;) from US who booked after hearing from me) will be there. It will be a great experience for sure. The course is challenging and notoriously hilly. The entire race is through historic sites of the historic country. And the finish is in the beautiful Olympic Stadium, the birthplace of the modern Olympic Games. The event is scheduled to be held on Oct 31st 2010 and we have enough time to plan. Thankfully Athens/Greece was one place I hadn’t visited on my last European trip and hopefully we will be able to cover one more country.


Finally I will leave you guys with these words, which I found on the net (Sorry, no source as I don’t remember where I had found this)…


“For the first ten miles, a marathon runner runs on his training. For the second ten, he survives on his stamina. For the last six, his body metabolizes his very sinews: it’s an onslaught of pain but he runs on his spirit. That’s what courage is…that’s what makes a champion.”


PS: If you are inspired by this post and want to donate some money or even provide me with sponsorship money please drop in a comment/mail. I will be wearing your name on my jersey so that you can become a part of this historic moment. A better deal can be negotiated and am open to suggestions.


22 comments:

Srinivas said...

Man ! You are fast. Seeking sponsorships :) Try, "Your" company may also be interested in having its name on your jersey.

Shouldn't the distance be 42.195 ?

Divya A L said...

Here's another deal:

Stretch your spends on non-participants like me and take me there.... I'll definitely cheer for you!!! :))))

dilip said...

@Srini:
Yep! Thats one of the options..Will give it a shot.
And yes its 42.195 Km

@DivyaAL:
haha..nice one..That will be one costly cheering..:)

Karthik said...

Nice try!!!.. I used this idea on 2 of my friends with no luck :)
But man, I did not know about the terrain.. I looked up the route map, and it is crazy.. Time to train well..

dilip said...

@Karthik:
No dude. I am serious about this!!
Let me see what i can do..

And yes! Its going to be one bad terrain! Do you know why they didnt send the 'horsemen' to convey the good news of the victory?? Apparently the terrain was so bad that only a foot-soldier could convey the news. I am sure we have asphalt now, but still the gradient would be a pain!

Nikhil said...

ATB!

Anand said...

atb dilip ... prepare well and stay focused, i'm sure u can breeze through it.

dilip said...

@Nikhil:
Thanks!

@Anand:
Thanks...Thats the plan..Lets see...:)

Ashwini said...

WOW! simply WwOW :)

dilip said...

Thanks Ashwini..:)
Any chance of you sponsoring my trip or a part of my trip..? ;)

Divya Pavoor said...

Looking forward to your post on the experience and ofcourse try to take some snaps.

dilip said...

@Divya:
Me too looking fwd to it..:)
Sure will do..

Me said...

thatz simply awesome :)... all the best

dilip said...

@Me:
Thanks!

Sunil said...

The exhilaration dies, the pain subsides, the memories become foggy over time (even though it remains as few glimpses etched among the bestest for the rest of your life!!)...

What use is putting the sponsors name on your jersey, if nobody gets to witness it again and again ?!

What use is the Marathon, without bringing home the memories on Hard, durable Memory Chips that you can show off in LARGE Poster Prints?!

All you need to do is spend a few euros more and i'll capture the Best Moments of your life on camera, that yuu will show off to your grandchildren with the most amazingly beaming Smile, which otherwise would just be colorfull words and the baby kid's imaginations...

Phew... i am ashamed of myself :P

dilip said...

@Sunil:
Believe me sunila, certain memories NEVER become foggy over time...They are etched for ever and you relish every moment of it time and again. They become your source of happiness/encouragement and can never be taken away from you.

I am sure the organizers have official photographers there, though i would love to have you as my 'friend who captures all the right moments (or my best moments) so that i can print them and show them to my grandchildren over time'...

But, I too am ashamed of u..:) Why dont you sponsor both of us so that both our agenda gets met? :P
And yes you will get copyright for the snaps and credits right in the beginning too (So that you dont have to complain like Chetan Bhagat..:))

Pratibha said...

Aaaawesome!!...all the best with the training..i shall cheer for u remotely..haha:)

dilip said...

@Pratibha:
Thanks..:):)

sho said...

All the best for Athens Marathon! Conduct a 5km/10km Run to raise fund for Athens marathon! I will be the first to register :)

dilip said...

@Sho:
Hey Thanks...And that's a good idea..:) I am thinking of its feasibility..:)

Geethanjali said...

All the very best

dilip said...

@Geeth:
Thanks!