With tomorrow’s Yorkshire Marathon now looming like sinister zeppelin in an iron sky (feel the tangible optimism…), I thought it would be a good time to unearth some fun factoids about the ol’ 26.2 miles. Now remember, I’ve gleaned these mostly from the Internet. So be cautious if attempting to dine out on these facts. But I haven’t just made them up. For once.
1) I’ll burn around 3,200 calories this Sunday. That’s the equivalent of 48 grapefruits. Or 96 carrots. Or 64 heads of lettuce. Or inhaling deeply whilst in a McDonalds.
2) Budhia Singh is the youngest person ever to finish a marathon, achieving the feat aged 3. At aged 4, he’d completed 48 marathons. Pfft, the little git.
3) The story of Pheidippides is said to be the inspiration for the modern marathon. He ran from Marathon to Athens, delivering news of a military victory over the Persians. Then he died. Well, we’ve all been there.
4) Depending on what source you consult or indeed browse in a half-arsed manner, the modern marathon was extended from around 24.8 miles to 26.2 miles at the 1908 Olympic Games, so the route would finish in front of the Royal Box. I’m going to spend every step of that last 1.4 miles cursing the Royals. All of them. Even former Oldham Athletic manager Joe Royle. The bastard.
5) Oprah Winfrey ran a marathon back in 1994. She finished in 4 hours 29 minutes and 15 seconds. Impressive. But I, as well as anyone else who has bettered that time, can officially say I’ve gone ‘sub-Oprah’. An achievement on a par with Roger Bannister’s 4-minute mile, I feel.
6) Actually, loads of celebrities have done marathons. Where does my time of 4 hours 12 minutes rank amongst the A-listers? Well, I’m faster than everyone’s favourite Lois Lane: Teri Hatcher. And the ever-popular Shia LaBeouf. And Al Gore. But I’m lagging behind former Boyzone warbler Ronan Keating. And Hollywood beefcake Ryan Reynolds. And Lance Armstrong. But we all know that doesn’t count. Bah, even RoboCop ran a marathon faster than me? Well, RoboCop actor Peter Weller. Part man. Part machine. All marathonmanchine.
7) During the Marathon du Medoc, participants are invited to wine and dine on booze and gourmet food at over 20 points throughout the route. Sounds fabulous. Albeit a little vomitty.
8) Bananas are, apparently, the favoured snack of the marathoner. Not for me. Can’t stand the bendy, yellow buggers. *dies of colossal potassium deficiency*
9) When the first Boston marathon was run in 1897 there were only 15 competitors. Man, what a time to be alive. Even I could’ve bagged a top 20 finish. Possibly.
10) The infamous Rosie Ruiz lived the dream. The hilariously immoral dream: pretending to have run the whole marathon in a fantastically quick time, yet in reality having joined the race near the end. She ‘won’ the 1980 Boston marathon using this ‘technique’. Only for it to become rather obvious that she clearly hadn’t run the race and was duly disqualified. Still, you have to applaud the effort. Or indeed, the distinct lack of effort. Idiot.