26.2 miles. Running.
Running 26.2 miles.
26.2 consecutive miles.
Before you make assumptions, the answer is: No, I did not run a marathon this past weekend.
I was, however, involved with filming part of the Marine Corps Marathon. One of the event’s sponsors wanted to document their involvement in the so-called “People’s Marathon.” For what purpose, I was not made aware. My guess is either an outward or internal public relations move.
Regardless of it, my role in it is done. My friend from college did work with them in the past, and was out of town this month. So he called me up, lent me some cameras, and said “Shoot the shit out of it.” Mission accomplished, I guess I could say, since I estimate I’ve given him about three hours of footage for what is probably a five-minute finished product. Some of it’s even usable.
Now, I could go over with you about filming at the Marine Corps Marathon Health and Fitness Expo brought to you by GE (hey, that’s how it was listed), but I’ve written enough filler already, and it’s time for some real content to the story, followed by my pithy comments.
Parking was available on-post at Fort Myer. This base always struck me as a little bit odd. It seems to be nothing more than a place of residence for the servicemen who work at Arlington Cemetery. Sure, it’s got barracks and an officer’s club and guards at the gate, but it’s all very minimal. I’m sure its borders are restricted by Arlington’s residential growth over the past 200 years, but compare it to something like Langley, Norfolk, or Benning, and I’m sure you’d be forgiven for walking on and asking, “Where’s the rest of it?” Its close proximity to the Pentagon would have led me to believe it was armed to the teeth with troops and tanks and super-classified Iron Man suits. But all those are all probably IN the Pentagon.
It’s also more of a bother to get look at your friend’s porn collection than it is to get on base at Myer. An ID is all they asked on this day. This is probably because they haven’t got much of anything worth sabotaging. Again, this seems odd to me, given they’re a metric stone’s throw from the center of America’s military communication and command. Surely there’s something else at work I don’t yet understand.
But back to parking: Easy-peasy at 7:45 A.M. on a Sunday. I’d been told there would be a shuttle-bus service to the marathon’s finish line, where I’m meant to be. Awesome!
I’m standing with a group of about 15 people. A Boy Scout troop, apparently, based on their inane conversations driven by a shallow need to prove masculinity.
Bus rolls up. Marine in fatigues steps off, in conversation with the bus driver. The two agree that there are no busses running, though there should have been. Marine looks at us, explains to a member of the group I’m not with in a tone I can’t hear, wraps up with, “Sorry, guys.” I think to myself, “If we all rushed the bus, who in this group is most likely capable of driving it?”
In an annoying bout of attempted character-building, one of the Scout Dads says, “It’s okay. We’re Scouts! We’re used to walking!” Boy Scouts groan just like every single Boy Scout in America would have, myself included.
I haven’t yet mentioned the forty-some-odd pounds of camera gear on my back. So of course, the words cross my mind, “Um, I’m not used to walking! Why do you think I have a car?!” Truth be told, those words were more colorful in my head before my fingers filtered them for the keyboard.
So the trek begins, walking. On the way, a quick call to the client explaining the situation. They aren’t here yet. More walking. I see the fort’s gate opposite the one I came in. Beyond that, a security checkpoint. More walking. I see bleachers with people on them.
I grab ahold of my media credentials, granting me camera access. A call from the client comes, telling me they still aren’t here yet. No problem. I’ll get some B-roll.
When I arrive, the first of the marathon’s 10K event runners come across the line. Each and every one of them skinny as a rail and under 5-foot-8. They look pleased with themselves.
“Why?” I wonder. As (in)active as I am, I would be miserable, doubled-over in pain from everywhere south of my shoulders. I don’t even like running to my car when I’m late for work. Why would I run all the way from my home to work and back for fun? And a marathon is ten-times that distance! The Good Lord gave us horses for long distances, and we improved on them with the automobile! For what evolutionary reason would we run long distances anymore?
Despite my bewilderment, the first three finishers smile from ear to ear. My world makes sense again when fourth-place stops immediately after the finish line and throws up. But then I am confused again. He got up at 6:00 in the morning just to vomit on the street? I usually do that at 2:30 in the morning, much better-dressed and without having to do all that running. Then I get to sleep afterwards.
I had been told I might get inspired by all these people running for a goal, possibly enter myself in a 10k later, possibly a full marathon some day.
That hasn’t happened. All I’m inspired to do is change the oil in my car more often to ensure I’ll never have to run again.