The Reykjavík Marathon is a degrading event; an awful and undignified occurrence; a grand spectacle of human regression—of which only the lowliest of men take part.
Consider the facts: in order to participate, a man is forced to become his own conveyance, and must transport himself 10, 21 or 42 kilometres—all by the meagre and insufficient horsepower of his human legs. In other words, man is to devolve into a pre-industrial animal, and stampede through town like a common wildebeest.
This year I promised myself that I would not stoop; that I would sleep late; that during the race I would drive 42 kilometres in a seat immoderately reclined and expend gasoline in copious amounts—all out of spite. But within two days of the deplorable event—I caved; and registered; and awoke at dawn; and arrived at the scene of the extravaganza in close-fitting garments, and was scoffed at by more reasonably dressed men.
My fiancée, who had accompanied me out of pity, bade me farewell with an unconvincing kiss suggestive of embarrassment. I then took my place among the human herd, cowering, and waited for the report of the starter pistol.
Tick … Tick … Tick … Bang. The debasing spectacle commenced—and I trotted like a drunken buffalo to the decidedly unnatural sound of 80s rock music. What follows is a brief summary of the ten milestones of the race.
- Kilometre 1: Not winded and somewhat confident.
- Kilometre 2: Slightly more winded and, therefore, slightly less confident.
- Kilometre 3: Advent of an ominous blister on the bottom of my left foot.
- Kilometre 4: Complete loss of confidence due to the unfortunate combination of breathlessness and painful blister.
- Kilometre 5: Nearly choked myself to death in an attempt to drink Powerade while simultaneously running and respiring.
- Kilometre 6: Various children pass me with mocking and airy steps.
- Kilometre 7: Earnest contemplation of surrender.
- Kilometre 8: Earnest denial of the possibility of surrender due to over-sized ego.
- Kilometre 9: Vivid visions of pearly gates and bare-breasted angels—running counter to my deep-seated atheism.
- Kilometre 10: I, a manifestation of living death, stumbling over the finish line with ungainly and earthquake-like steps. I then retrieved my medal, tossed it into the trash, and spent a dizzying and somewhat emotional hour searching for my fiancée, who was so mortified by the whole thing that she had started running up Laugavegur like an uncomfortable cheetah.
Next year, I shall not trade my dignity for my health, but remain fat, self-respecting and idle.