For some reason, every year we make a big deal out of the Boston Marathon. It's a national story, as if we're suddenly fascinated with the concept of running. A half a million people gather to watch people run for hours. Any other day of the year if you asked a drunken Massachusetts crowd to watch somebody run for four hours, they'd smash a bottle over your head. Marathon day, suddenly it's the talk of the town.
The main problem I have with the Boston Marathon is the same problem French people have with the Tour de France. The home team just isn't very good at the competition. The last time an American won the race was in 1983, which coincidentally was right around the time Jack In The Box started serving the 2000-calorie Bacon Ultimate Cheeseburger. Since then, we're stumbled to the finish like a Will Ferrell character while Kenyans have won seventeen of the last twenty men's races.
I'm completely okay with that, by the way. In Kenya, you run because you have to. You run because it's a part of your culture, your transportation, and your survival. In America, we drive ourselves to the gym so we can get on the treadmill.
I'm not being xenophobic, I'm just saying a runner who looks more like a Belushi brother crossing the finish line is a more interesting story to me than seeing a 78-pound guy with 1% body fat win the race. The only thing that interests me about that scenario is wondering if he's heavy enough to break the tape. I like my athletes to weigh more than their shoes.
I'm completely okay with running, just not as a spectator sport. I have a lot of friends that run, all of a sudden. It seems like we all got near forty, and we all realized we hadn't moved since we were thirty. I salute them. I went out and jogged a mile and a half last weekend, and my knees thought Jack Bauer was trying to get information out of them.
Running for me is just a part of another sport. If they finished the marathon while having to catch football passes every fifty yards, or had to touch bases and turn corners, maybe then I'd be more likely to pay attention.
Reid Kerr ran distance in high school, a fact which gets funnier each and every day.