In Search of A/The Point of Life

WE JOIN 40,000 TO RUN THE 2011 NONDON MARATHON ON SUNDAY! But NO, THIS IS NOT A RICHARD-BRANSON PRODUCT-PLACEMENT BLOG POST!

1) Running is an immensely popular sport today all over the world, since it can be done anytime, anywhere, and by nearly anybody. 2) Any marathon is a big gig/performance/show (a show of human determination, although nowadays marathons, and even triathlons is such an achievable feat that the genuinely fit ones go for and invent ever more ultra- and extreme races, in impossible landscapes, over impossible periods of time, etc, etc.  4) Nondon is an amazing stage to live/work/play/be (we’ve gone through this before)  5) The Nondon Marathon is a big show on earth alright (Biggest fundraising event on earth! 40,000 runners! Records to be broken The most scenic marathon routes! …  …) 6) Nothing – no thing in this world today escapes the supermarket, corporatised treatment/makeover. 7) Richard Branson has never, ever been known to be subtle.

HENCE. Look at these images. Richard Branson’s Virgin has been running the Nondon Marathon in the past years. It’s a huge gig alright – a large advertisement for itself. Yes, do yell it loud and clear, in every which way possible, leftrightcentre, brand us and co-opt us into your game, your rules. Thanks Sir Richard. If the Nondon Marathon Expo at the Excel Centre (MILLIONS OF FIT [healthy] AND FIT [goodlooking] runners, lean and mean and powerpacked in lycra!) is just a small indication of what’s to come on Sunday 17 April at the Nondon Marathon, we are prepared to be even more branded (‘Virgin’ no less!), and be seen with even more products. ‘Pure’ as it is or can be, running, like any other activity today, can be coated in much gunk that threaten to make us forget why we run. (We are not being cynical and dismissing the good work that such a big gig does (raising much fund for charities for one, and we are running for a charity as well), but there are always questions to ask in any such large-scale hyped-up enterprises [Bono, Geldof et al]). It does not have to be like this- our last (and first!) marathon was a much smaller event. The Farnham Pilgrims Marathon in Surrey was quirky and intimate, highly praised by all runners of varying experiences, and was not dunked in excessive institutionalised/corporatised distractions. We have signed up for the Bath Half Marathon in March 2012 (provided if we live till then?), but there are certainly questions to be asked and issues to think about, with regards to the institutionalisation of running – an activity that is, for us, essentially an act of gentle anarchism, a personal act of resistance. It’s an interesting tension. In this day and age no one is not co-opted in one way or another, but the question, we suppose, is how we run (navigate, negotiate, manage) that tension (like we do many things in life, unless we are hermits living in caves). Before we become (hairy/smelly) hermits in caves, we scribble a message on the wall at the Expo. (Thanks ADIDAS!!!!)

UPDATE: THANKS TO MS CHUN WEE SAN, WE HAVE HIT OUR TARGET DONATION OF £1500! This is Wee San’s SECOND donation for our Nondon Marathon effort for Shelter, the homelessness charity! Wee San, an art teacher, has previously  also supported our run for the Friends of Medecin Sans Frontieres!  THANK YOU WEE SAN! We also want to thank Jackie Claxton for her support, even after we have reached our target! Having reached our target, we have slightly raised the bar to £1600, so keep your donations coming! Click some clicks here to donate, today! We will close our donation page 1 week after the marathon, on 24 April 2011 Sunday.

AFTER WEEKS OF PRE-RACE ANXIETY, SUPERCRAMPS, FORCEFEEDING BUT TAPERING, IRRITABILITY, WE ARE MORE THAN READY FOR OUR RUN. TO FIND OUT HOW WE HAVE DONE on 17 APRIL 2011 AT THE 2011 NONDON MARATHON, COME BACK TO THIS RUNNING BLOG IN A COUPLE OF DAYS. BUILDING IN 1 LOO BREAK (INCLUDING QUEUING UP – no we won’t do a Paula Radcliffe!) WE ARE HOPING TO COMPLETE OUR 42KM BY WEDNESDAY MORNING, OR, IF WE ARE OPTIMISTIC, TUESDAY EVENING. SEE YOU SOON(ER OR MUCH MUCH MUCH LATER)!

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