So there I was.
Me and about a million others facing a cursed 10-kilometre run.
The Reykjavík city marathon. Well, 10 kilometres of it.
I was stuck at the start with nowhere to go. Too many people around for me to be able to sneak off home, where the weekend papers and lots of good, hot, strong coffee waited.
I stood there, looking around at the red-clothed throng. People were laughing, jumping, hopping about, as if they were looking forward to this.
I bet they’d all trained for hours and days and weeks and months for this.
And. though I’d been running regularly, I hadn’t run further than six kilometres all summer, and not at all the previous two weeks.
So what the hell was I doing there?
Why, in the name of all that is good and has nothing to do with running, had I signed up?
Dang it all.
I had no answer to my questions.
I looked again for a sneaky way out, but just as I thought I didn’t care who saw me walking away, the shot rang and the crowd started moving.
There were so many of us that it took three minutes for me to cross the start line. And I wasn’t even last.
And then nobody ran except for a few in the front.
The rest of us walked. Stopped. Walked again. Ran a bit. Stopped again. Walked.
After about 400 metres of this, finally we could get a move on and begin running.
Before I knew it, I had passed the first kilometre marker and then everything got easier.
The Reykjavík city marathon was held last weekend, and when I had gotten over my initial grumpiness and fear of the crowd, the run was easy as pie.
I could have gone much further, particularly when I saw all the people coming out to their doorstep to bang on pots with wooden spoons and yell, “Yahoo!”
Well, perhaps not a whole marathon, but certainly half one.
More than 10,000 people participated in the run, but that includes 4,000 who participated in the 1.5-kilometre run sponsored by the Icelandic-American kids TV show, Lazy Town.
I didn’t run for any cause — simply participated because I belong to a very informal running group at work and, because the newspaper sponsored the event, we got free entry.
But seeing all the Team Diabetes Canada shirts around me made me think that if I run again, I’ll do it for a good cause.
And Team Diabetes Canada certainly did.
Nearly 200 Canadians — including one Yukoner — ran the marathon for the Diabetes Association of Canada.
Among them, if I take the liberty to quote my Yukon friend, was a “13-year-old boy who ran with his dad, a 83-year-old woman who walked the 10 kilometres, a bunch of people who walked the half marathon and even some who walked the full marathon!”
Each person signed on to raise $6,000, but most raised more.
In total, the group raised $1,085,000 for diabetes research — and made some friendships that will last forever, as my friend from the Yukon said after she got home.
And that’s a worthy cause, if there ever was one.
But back to my run.
I finished my 10 kilometres in about an hour, which, for me, was a considerably good time.
(Given that my Yukon friend finished the whole 42 kilometres in less than four hours, it might not be such a great time after all, but for me it was!)
And I wanted to go on, but instead, I took my gold medal and went home to my coffee and the morning’s papers, where I reveled in my own tiny little victory.