Thor's Korea Diary

The Marathon Club

@21 May 2001

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The notice in the staffroom escaped my notice until Mr. Kim asked me to join the marathon club. The marathon club? Now there was a title that whispered vainglory in a big way. Looking around, there didn't seem to be many characters in sight who had the taut, lean look of a genuine long-distance runner. Forty-two kilometers on the hoof is a serious challenge. Our students were into bar-room posing, but almost to a man or woman, seemed to abhor anything -- study, exercise -- which demanded a major commitment of energy. And the staff? Well you have to search long and hard amongst most assemblies of mature adults to find folk with a regular, long term commitment to aerobic exercise.

Were Koreans somehow different? It seemed unlikely. It was true however that a handful of marathoners, from gold medalist San Gi-jung in the 1936 Berlin Olympics (forced to run in the bitter disguise of an honorary Japanese; 2 hours 36 minutes), to Hwang Young-jo as winner of the 1992 Olympic marathon (2 hours 6 minutes), to Lee Bong-ju winning the 2001 Boston Marathon, had embedded themselves in local folklore. When the North Korean regime chose to stage an "international sporting event" this year, it was no accident that they opted for a marathon, and of course a North Korean won it. (Interestingly, my South Korean colleagues seemed to know nothing of this event, though it featured in the international English language media...).

To many non-runners, even ten kilometers seems an unimaginably long way to run, or to walk, or to contemplate in any manner that is not machine powered. We read harrowing endurance tales of refugees escaping on foot across deserts or snow-covered mountains. We know in a vague way that hunter-gatherers still lope across vast tracts. These visions though belong to a television world, and the notion of driving one's own body to exhaustion recedes for the world's couch potatoes over thirty, until a "hard day at the office" leaves them barely enough energy to chase a trolley around the local supermarket. Exercise (like study), when they can be coaxed into it, is always based on social activity, often as a kind of ritual display. This is true the world over.

For years, on most days I have run for around fifty minutes, which is about ten kilometers or a little less. It is a solitary time, but never lonely. There is nothing Olympic class about the running, though it's probably a bit faster than your average twice a year jogger, and over time I have learned to lollop along expending little energy while keeping injury to a minimum. It's as much a part of my day as breakfast, a non-glorious but energizing chunk of time. I don't talk about it often, because the normal reaction is disbelief (he's another middle aged man trying to kid himself), or even contempt (these exercise "fanatics" are a pain). The running is therefore a personal, not a social trip. Anyone who runs as often as I do is challenging their own limits, not somebody else's.

The unforgiving facts of human physiology cannot escape into fantasy on the long, hard road. That's what I like about it, the reality check, for flights of imagination have always been my undoing. Dictators, I believe, should be made to run ten kilometers a day as a healthy reminder that they too are mortal. On the other hand, having survived this daily test, one has a confident sense that the next twenty-four hours is going to be a snack.

Well, the front man for the marathon club was indeed a runner. An administration officer in his forties, Mr. Kim Young-nam is not only extraordinarily fit, but a Confucian gentleman in the best sense of the word: ever courteous, modest and self-sacrificing, always ready with a smile to grace his few words of English. Like almost all Korean men, he had spent time in the army, and perhaps found some internal harmony with its disciplines. (It is remarkable what diverse reactions come out of an experience like that. Often there develops a lifelong aversion to exercise or discipline of any kind). Could I persuade some of the other foreign teachers to join, he wondered. I had my doubts.

The notice on the staffroom wall was actually in the form form of a promised grant to any group of fifteen who would commit to sporting activity, "in the interests of promoting harmony and intercultural understanding". The intercultural bit meant that it could be neither all "foreigners", nor all Koreans. There was some promise of up to a million won for club use if all the conditions were met. Sungsim is a private Buddhist college, operated behind the usual mess of committees at the pleasure of its owner. I had, and have no idea what processes led to the offer of largesse. However, the apartheid status of the twenty or so foreign teachers was a product of language barriers, culture, backgrounds and differing personal agendas. In many ways, a cordial distance between Koreans and the rest seemed to suit all parties. Anyway, whatever the politics of the situation, a lone Frenchman and I were the only outlanders known to have any taste for exercise. As it happened, we both ran, and hence, perhaps, the suddenly appearing marathon club.

Our inaugural meeting was in a deserted staffroom, a collection of suited gentlemen whose faces I vaguely knew from hallway encounters. We were not, it seemed, here to decide what manner of beast a marathon club should be, but like larvae emerging from individual eggs, we were to look around and and discover ourselves part of a busy social organism. The president of the club was revealed, introduced by Mr. Kim, and stood to set out the vision. Since I couldn't understand a word of the Korean language presentation, I had to be content with studying the captive bodies and their gestures.

The president himself was a short, very stocky man whom nature had designed well for bear hugs, but not well for outrunning the bear. He later turned out to be a genial Korean professor of Japanese, who made up for coming in several laps behind the leaders with a steely determination to stay the course. Nobody could ask more of a man. With a flourish, Mr. Kim gave us a program of marathons from Jeju Island to the icy north, a chart for personal training, and a plasticized wallet card with the telephone numbers of fellow runners. Less welcome was the sudden information that the college grant was not enough, or uncertain, so fifty thousand won a semester would be needed from each member for expenses. What expenses? Well, let it ride for now ... Someone remembered to tell me in English that we were meeting for a run the next Sunday in Haeundae, at Dongbaek Island.

Korea, in hot pursuit of America and Australia, is rapidly becoming one of those societies where the unwheeled are a lower social order. With a car, at a moment's notice, you can chuck stuff in the back seat and take off for an hour at the beach. A network of fast motorways will whisk you to the destination in air-conditioned comfort. After a few years of this, memories of being earthbound fade, and you wonder with intolerance and impatience at the narrow lives of the huddled masses, condemned to public transport. Now, as a certified car junkie suddenly transmogrified into a flat-footed foreigner, the first yawning culture gap with my Korean colleagues opened beneath my feet. Not only did they all have cars, but most of them lived in Haeundae anyway. Over the next few weeks I was to find that an hour's run with the guys for them meant up to five hours out of my day, much of it on pitching, crowded public buses.

Anyway, that first Sunday at Dongbaek island was a fine day at 8 am in the morning. As a starting bonus, a friendly Korean professor of Russian had picked up my French colleague and I at seven in his tiny white car. Bernard, the Frenchman was a slim, natty fellow of around 35, given to yellow ties and elaborately courteous greetings. He had much earnest advice to offer about running, having run, he said, several marathons. The body though was a fragile vessel, he felt, adrift in a rough rude world, and we came to see that he curbed his own from any kind of stress. My own poor frame has had its share of knocks, so perhaps our mild satire was misplaced.

The starting crew had shrunk fairly drastically from that suited meeting of Korean professors in the college. In our skimpy running shorts, Bernard and I looked risqué amongst the knee-length cut-offs and track pants. Indeed, a few weeks before a doughty Korean matron in Bansong had run beside me for a few yards, shaking her fist and screeching. I was a threat apparently, to the moral standards of the shire... When it comes to the hard road of a runner though, all posing turns to dust. Those who can do, and those who can't turn on the television. Our leader, Kim Young-Nam aside, few of the aspirants here could even pretend to be more than novices. No matter, as the unknown foreigner, I knew I had to establish my bona fides.

Cho Han-koo fancied himself as a runner. He was the man who had employed me months before. He was, you could see, a person driven by conflicting tides, clever with a risk of arrogance, able but tempted to neglect, quick with a contempt for fools but tormented by ego to exceed his limits. He was unadapted yet to running but strongly built, and with strength intended to outrun me. This kind of challenge is a dumb business, for everyone has a differently designed body machine, some naturally faster on the turf. But where two people get together you have to expect contest. It's a sort of law of nature...

He wanted a warm up run before the main circus, so I asked him to lay the trail. First we circled Dongbaek Island, about 900 meters, then he diverted past the Westin Chosin Hotel to the beachfront. The beach promenade is Haeundae's pride, the one place where cars don't claim ascendancy. It runs in a wide arc behind the sand, and is dotted here and there by wheeled hawker stands selling fries, softdrinks, seashells, tourist kitsch. There are always people hanging around the promenade, courting couples, guys hunting for a pickup, girls in clusters ... and on the sand, often groups on an outing. Pretty well nobody goes into the water. This doesn't seem to be a swimming culture.

Someone said it was 5 km to the end of the beach and back. I figured something rather less. With me standing on his heels Cho Han-koo as hunter found himself the hunted. As we loped along the beach, the pressure was beginning to tell, but he kept paddling until we came to the turn. By agreement, having shown the way, we could find our own way home. I stepped past him and stretched my stride a little. We came in from this warm-up as the wannabes were lining up for a few circuits of the island. That was easy. The hundred meter dashes we practiced later were easy the first time, then less and less easy. A half dozen times I passed a visiting Australian professor I'd met the night before in the Westin Chosun. Strolling slowly, pale and freckled, in a casual T-shirt and badly fitting jeans, he was hard to match with the perfect picture of sartorial and academic self-possession I'd talked to before. He nodded uneasily, and his alcoholic sidekick, bleaching a sickly pink in the sunlight, looked the other way.

At an hour's end we had each other's measure, for better or for worse. It was time to cement the fellowship by repairing to a restaurant. Local facilities didn't include a change room, so pulling on a pair of track pants was the best concession I could make to dressing for dinner. I needn't have worried. The eating house was up a flight of steps, but that didn't stop Kim Nam-hang's teenage son from wheeling his racing bike amongst the diners to the small raised alcove where we took off our running shoes and sat cross legged around a low table in the Korean fashion.

The menu was a la carte, in hangul of course, and a complete magical mystery tour for me. Somehow I wound up with a big bowl of chilled noodles. Besides being about the world's slowest eater, I'm not big on noodles at the best of times, so slithering this stuff down my throat was more of a challenge than any amount of roadwork. Short bursts of Korean conversation splattered off the walls, then occasionally a self-conscious phrase of English to count Bernard and I in. But, in the end, my silent struggle with kilometers of cold noodles had outlasted the best efforts of my hosts, and they were reduced to a wordless death watch, until I gave up and pronounced everything delicious.

The marathon club from its inception had the dizzy vision of the annual Pusan marathon on its calendar. This was to be its test of blood and bone, its defining moment or its demise. By the 20th May our cargo of shuffling hopefuls had to transform into a lean mean running team. Well, um, it wasn't going to happen, was it. But we consoled ourselves by promising to finish something. Nobody was quite brave enough to opt for a full marathon. After all, Bernard's claims aside, none of us had actually run one, in a race or out of a race.

The handful who felt comfortable with ten kilometers figured we could stretch it to 21 km and probably survive somehow. I had tried a couple of private hour and a half runs in the preceding weeks without too much drama, so wasn't expecting to collapse in a heap. A few characters who should have known better also threw in their lot with the 21 km test, while some saner hangers-on decided that 10 km or 5 km was a good enough entry ticket. When a glossy booklet arrived from the Pusan Marathon Organizing Committee, we hunted for our names through pages of long entrant lists. Apparently this was to be a caste of around 6500 runners in various categories, all fighting for a bit of road space. There is a kind of comfortable anonymity in being a mere number, 1794 in my case, although a clever electronic chip tied to each runner's shoe lace would cruelly ping off our failing strength to a bank of sensors along the route.

A week before the big race, the climax of training, I found myself getting up at 5 am to make it to Haeundae for an early morning run. Only five starters showed. Later we piled into Kim Young-nam's 4-wheel drive grunter for an inspection tour;(the craving for muscular vehicles by urbanites is as popular here as it is in Australia or America). It made sense to check out the marathon route, which was to be from Dadaepo beach on the other side of the city. Quite a way. I was ordered into the front seat so that cross-chatter in the back wouldn't strike any foreign static.

Our route took us around coastal areas that were quite new to me even after eight months in this town, and I realized once again what a confined existence we public transport lowlifes lead. Going south, we hummed through Gwang-an beach, where the road ran along the sea wall with buildings crowding abruptly behind it. Shop awnings, except for a bit of roll-down canvas here and there, are rare in Korea, so the strip development becomes a bleak canyon, or in this sea-front instance, a glassy eyed wall.

Gwang-an beach is given a strangely enclosed perspective by a towering (unfinished) motorway on pylons being built straight across Suyong bay, including at one point the swoop of a suspension bridge, like a theme park model of San Francisco's Golden Gate. Bridges and motorways have their places, but in some cities you have the feeling that they sometimes become gratuitous short cuts, like kicking a path through a flower garden to save a couple of minutes.

I can imagine the screams of outrage from property owners with million dollar water views, if the Australian government tried a trick like that bay motorway in Sydney, my hometown. Heaven knows what Koreans think about these things. Judging the dynamics of a foreign culture where I don't speak the language, I feel as flaky as a behavioral psychologist guessing at rat minds : you watch to see how often the buttons are pressed in the maze and make a guess. One's guess has to be that the planning of this city (like so many others worldwide) is in the hands of the top end of town, old, rich, conservative men living privileged lives with no concept of design as it affects the leisure and benefit of ordinary people in the street.

We wriggled and squirmed our way through traffic lights and tunnels, skirting the downtown city area of Nampodong, and finally emerged from the other side of a mountain near Hadan, adjacent to the tidal estuary of the Naktong River. The city airport of Gimahae is stuck on a large island in the middle of this estuary. Just before it enters the sea, the river is broken up by a number of low-lying delta islands. Flooding (tidal flooding I would guess) is controlled by the huge Naktonggang Estuary Dike, which also forms a road bridge.

Tracking the marathon route, we crossed the road on top of the dike to Ulsuk Do (= island), and crossed again a second section on another branch of the river to the much larger estuary island of Gangso-gu. Then we circled a clover leaf intersection before returning. Back on the mainland, we made a sharp right turn to follow a narrow margin between the river and a rocky peninsular mountain range, out to the sea at Dadaepo beach. Unlike the rest of Pusan, the roads here are flat and straight, which is the reason they were chosen of course for the marathon. The peninsular road had nothing between it and the water except an ugly chain wire fence (why the fence?). On the inland side of the road the ribbon of flat land seemed reproachful, once lush green in a bed of river mud, but now a scattering of factories and industrial sites mouldered there, like outposts of the concrete empire over the mountain.

Across the wide mouth of the estuary was a sandbar, separated by a channel from Dadaepo beach itself. The beach area, too, was isolated by a three meter high, rusting chain wire fence. For what purpose? A car park sprawled behind the fence, then a deep scoop of sand sitting like a pillow between the shoulder of the peninsular and the stony, tree-covered headland of Molundae. Unlike Haeundae, this was no place of many-starred hotels and beachside promenades. A few people were wandering on the sand, but they seemed more likely to haul out a fishing line than show off their swimwear (not that anyone seems to actually swim much in the ocean anywhere in Pusan).

Built out over the sea from the water's edge were some rickety wooden jetties and huts on stilts. Did they have some traditional role, I asked my urban, apartment bred, Korean colleagues. They seemed nonplused by the question. Somebody finally said without curiosity that, no, they were just illegal buildings. But after a lifetime of hanging around South East Asia and the Pacific Islands, I knew what I was looking at. They were about fishing. Bamboo stakes anchored in the shallow water, bits of netting, a few abandoned floats made the real human history of Dadaepo beach very clear.

We got out in the car park to stretch our legs. It was about lunch time. A hawker food stall was magically there in the right place at the right time. In fact it seemed to be part of the plan, since the team made a beeline for its skewers of grilled chicken. I was wondering how to dig my wallet out of the car unobtrusively, but this was Korea and going dutch hadn't occurred to anyone else. Apparently, like the bananas that Kim Young-Nam pushed at us sometimes, and the odd restaurant meal after runs, the tab was either being picked up in a cycle that was still invisible to me, or it was all part of club "expenses".

The stall was run by a young couple they seemed to know, helped by grandma, who inspected me with a beady eye. A cup of cola was pressed upon us to wash the chicken down with, then a quarter slice of orange. Fishing in the back of her van, grandma reappeared with a large jar of pickles. She shuffled from diner to diner in our little group, stuffing a spoonful into each mouth like a nesting bird feeding its chicks. She looked at me sharply, and unflustered, pushed the spoon at my mouth with a cackle. "Kimchi" she said in scratchy dialect. There was no saying no, so kimchi it was for vegetable desert.

Race day dawned with a leaden sky and occasional gusts of wind. At 6 am that suggested a certain coolness which wouldn't do us any harm. Bernard and I had to make one of those epic urban transport journeys -- bus down to a subway, go to the end of the line at Shinp'yeong, pick up a promised shuttle bus. It meant starting early, and as the trip progressed I began to look for the hordes who were supposed to be converging on our rendezvous. Two Europeans talking English are a standout in Pusan, so we were noticed by the scattering of morning commuters, but it was too soon for the crowds who would later flock to the cinemas in Seomyeon and Nampodong. Of athletic wannabes there was scarcely a sign. As promised though, by Shinp'yeong station a grey shuttle bus from some sporting association paused an instant to pick us up as we scuttled across the road.

Kim Young-nam had arrived already, and was bravely struggling to erect a tent on the beach at the edge of the carpark. It wobbled precariously as the plastic guy pegs quickly worked their way out of the loose sand. A good gust of wind would bring our headquarters to ruin. Cream-puff marathon pretenders we might be, but four metre posters on each side of the tent proclaimed to the world that this was indeed Sungsim Marathon Club. The absence of crowds became a little clearer as we realized that we were over an hour early. Declining a second breakfast of glutinous rice and fresh bananas, I took a stroll amongst the flotsam on the water's edge, loped across the neck of Molundae to a bay of fishing boats on the other side, and picked my way past a string of seafood restaurants setting up for a busy Sunday. What the heck. Why not have a bit of a warm up run?

As I padded along the sidewalk between the rusty chainwire fence and the main road, traffic had begun to build. Our friendly Korean Russian professor, gridlocked near in his tiny white car near the race starting point, called me over to introduce his wife. He planned to do a sensible five kilometers with his young sons. The environment was changing in other ways. The grey sky of early morning gradually lightened into a dull silver shield, and heat was already reflecting off the pavement. It was the air itself though which was disturbing, quite unlike anything I had seen in Pusan before. Visibility was down to a few hundred meters, and a thick dirty cloud seemed to be hugging the ocean itself. Was it some kind of sea mist, or the smog of pollution which I knew so well from China? Whatever. It tasted like bad news for the long distance runner.

A triumphal arch of pipes and banners had been propped across the highway to mark our starting point, and behind it marshals now began to herd the runners, funnel them into some kind of order with handheld rope barriers. The raucous loudspeaker announcements were static to me, and the Sungsim hopefuls all seemed to have been swallowed by the crowd.

Shortly though I stumbled across a slightly built, unassuming man who had turned up a few times at the Haeundae meetings. His number indicated that he too had opted to run the half marathon. I glanced doubtfully at his pale, soft legs. Well, you never could tell. We started a sort of conversation which seemed wildly out of context with the moment, but I learned that he was a professor of food preparation, took his students to Japan every year, and was planning to open a restaurant. At about that point a harassed Kim Young-Nam spotted us in the mob and urgently signaled to follow. Apparently we had joined the teeming thousands of five kilometer runners, and now had to be corralled with a more august body of true athletes.

There seemed to be little point in elbowing to the front for the starting gun. After all, an electronic gizmo would scan the speed chips on our shoes as we passed through. While we thundered down that first kilometer, dodging heels in front and to the side, I looked around and wondered who would be there an hour and a half along the track.

They came in all shapes and sizes, in every kind of outfit, from knee length cycling shorts and football jerseys, to jocks with carefully displayed biceps who clearly spent their waking hours pumping iron. One hollow chested fellow had a clanking shirt of bronze coins. Whatever god he was pacifying would need a heart of lead not to pity a sacrifice like that. Strangest of all though was a wizened little lady in a shin-length floral frock. Her arms and legs seemed to be brown matchsticks, and the running shoes flopped around on her feet like enormous blobs of ice-cream. But, well, I kept repeating a warning to myself, you never could tell. I saw her later after the race, grinning a toothless grin and apparently none the worse for wear.

Police, spaced every hundred meters or so, kept us to one side of the road, so the ambitious soon worked their way to this margin for some easy overtaking. My restaurateur friend disappeared almost immediately, but I was not pushing to break any speed records and only gradually began to pass slowing runners. With so many people on the road it was difficult to get any sense of moving up through the ranks anyway. I felt comfortable with the pace, and wanted to stay that way. The road though was hard, and black, and hot. The air was heavy. Distances seemed somehow further than on the quiet home runs through Bansong-dong, and up an empty road to the cemetery... Even the first five kilometer mark took an eternity to reach. Now, writing later, I am clear about the waypoints, but on that run I was never quite certain. Surely that dyke bridge was the halfway point? No? And not the next bridge either? On the clover leaf turns they seemed to play cruel tricks, sending us in long probes up radiating roads and doubling back.

By the ten kilometer point the speed chip on my shoe was digging a hole in my foot. I gulped a paper cup of cold water and stopped to loosen it off. Bugger the race... My body had done its daily run, and now expected the tender loving care of a nice stretch and a quick shower. But the race, the real race, was only just beginning. If it was a long way out, it was going to be an interplanetary expedition getting back. Somewhere a little past this halfway point I overtook Kim Young-Nam, to my astonishment, and clearly to his. His face was flushed, the pressure seemed to be telling, and he muttered that it was very hot. But I knew that he would be on my heels now, as a matter of honour, an invisible but insistent ghost clawing at my back.

There didn't seem to be any dramatic moment when the body machine disintegrated. It happened in hints and visitations. There was a twinge in the thighs, a pain on the ball of my foot that came faintly at first, then went away for a while, then came back to stay as an unwelcome passenger. I found that I was breathing more heavily without my upper body feeling exhausted at all. My lower back announced that it was far too tense. I began to sight off four telegraph posts ahead, and wait tiredly as they crept abreast with the sluggish drift of logs in a muddy river. At a certain point I knew that I would have to rest and stretch my left calf muscle for a minute or something was going to give. Kim Young-Nam steamed past, reinvigorated, and chided me for lagging.

The stops to stretch the calf muscle became more frequent, and the stomping crowds I had stepped around so easily plodded past me again in little batches. It was galling. With a new pair of legs I could have taken off. But running is about legs as much as anything, and you are only allowed one pair. The challenge now, the imperative, was to somehow get these twangy, sprained and twisted legs to the end of the line.

I looked to the withering horizon, to the endless fence of old chain wire that narrowed to a point and turned a corner somewhere in the distance. I felt the dull silver sky sitting on my head, and my face burned. Here and there a runner had given up the ghost, and shuffled defeated along the sidewalk. There was a younger time, maybe more sensible, when I would have quit too. But the years have burdened me with a sort of dogged persistence, a knowledge that the quitting lives with you long after the moment has passed. I was going to finish this damned race. There had to be an end to it sooner or later if one foot kept following the other.

In the scale of torn muscles, it was later rather than sooner. They are thoughtful after a fashion, these Koreans, in arranging a bit of encouragement. At strategic points along the route small clusters of cheer leaders had been posted, to dispense claps and helpful noises with democratic generosity to all who passed that way. Coming down to the finishing line though, they stood shoulder to shoulder, a hundred meter gauntlet of clapping admirers, pressed to a narrow funnel, to wish you across the line. I needed all the wishing in the ether. By that stage my left leg was more or less an afterthought. I dragged it like a crab with a broken claw. But it got there, got through the arch of pipes and banners, past the pinging thing which recorded bloodlessly on its computers that number 1794 was home in 1 hour 55 minutes.

Kim Young-Nam was in the tent of course, with his big gold gilt medal in a plastic bag. We all got big gold gilt medals on coloured ribbons, to prove membership among the immortals of that day. Cho Han-koo was there too, definitely pleased with himself. He'd done me in after all. I had not seen him in the race, but he told me he had chuffed past as I leaned against one of those iron posts coaxing my calf muscle to last a little longer. It was quite some time later that the stocky Korean professor of Japanese, our marathon president, dropped in with a heavy sigh. Of the people whom nature never meant to run a marathon, he was definitely one. But he too could say that he hadn't quit, and that was the best win anybody could deserve. Much, much later, the wispy professor of food management arrived. I was astonished, and respectful. You never can tell.

Postscript: It all happened a week ago today. It seems like a century. I can walk now, slowly, if it is downhill. Uphill the ripped calf muscle, shortened by mending, goes into spasm after a few meters. It is going to take weeks to coax it back into civilized behaviour. Maybe longer. What sort of damned fool would get into a scene like that without proper preparation? Thousands of fools it seems, and they mostly get away with it. But a half-trained runner with taut muscles calibrated to ten kilometers...

The worst pain is sometimes the best teacher. Grounded, I've been surfing the web. There's lots of stuff on running marathons. All kinds of warnings about the mistakes we are condemned to make. Miracle stories about seventy year olds who are still at it. Advice for finally making the grade to that select band who get across the line of a full marathon with all their tendons in one piece. Here's a free on-line book for anyone tempted to the madness: "Marathoning Start to Finish"
/marathon/contents.html ; Hypertext Version 1.01, by Patti and Warren Finke; 1986, 1996). Next time, I'm gonna get there, unbroken.

* Note on personal names: all names in this Diary have been changed to protect the privacy of individuals,
unless stated otherwise.

"The Marathon Club"... copyrighted to Thor May 2001; all rights reserved
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