May 7, 2013

Geneva Marathon 2013

The Geneva Marathon was last week. I had signed up to run the full distance but came down with a stress fracture around the same time the hubby decided to do the half-marathon. This time I played the role of a crazed fan cheering behind the barrier….which I must say I quite enjoyed. If you’ve ever run a race, something particularly grueling, cheers and screams of encouragement are really wonderful to hear especially when you’re at the halfway mark and wondering why the hell you didn’t take up yoga instead.

The run started at 8:30 am in the countryside. We got up early, squeezed ourselves onto a tram with a thousand other runners, some already emitting body odour, and got to the start line with 15 minutes to spare. Everyone was solemn: stretching, drinking and lining up for a last minute pee. Running 21km is serious stuff. There was a minute of silence for Boston and then the race was on.

I attempted to take pictures at the beginning but the crowd was thick and moving briskly so instead I took the tram back into town (the race starts in the countryside), bought a coffee and read the paper to pass the time before they made it back into the city. It’s amazing how time flies when you’re reading your twitter feeds. I looked at my watch, jumped up and ran over to the course with a coffee in one hand and a camera swinging on the other. The problem was, I didn’t have a map. I didn’t know exactly what part of the course I was standing in, 10km, 17km, who knew? I was, however, pretty sure that with only one other spectator and a handful of people running by, I had missed another opportunity to take a photo. Damn.

The finish line was close and I had time to hustle over for one last chance. Still, I felt rather useless. Suddenly a female running came huffing around the corner. She was breathing heavily, struggling to place one foot in front of the other, alone on her quest to run 21 km. I immediately put down my coffee and started yelling.

“Bravo, Bravo, Avec COURAGE, Allez, Allez.”

She looked at me. No, we don’t know each other but I am here for you was the vibe I was going for. I looked at her name tag.

“Go, Aline! You can DO IT!” I screamed. It felt good.

When she’d passed I picked up my coffee and booted over to the finish line. There was a huge crowd most of who were just observing, waiting for their friend. Me, I clapped for everyone both to encourage and because, having been on the other side of the rope, it’s very disconcerting to have hundreds of people standing around looking at you pant, sweat and groan without saying anything at all.

By the time the hubby arrived my camera ran out of battery. I didn’t get one picture. We went home, drank champagne and looked up possible photos online.

“So who won?” I asked.

“Some guy named Tadesse.”

“And?”

“Some gal named Aline.”

Really?

Turns out she wasn’t a straggler. She was the front-runner and a bit of a celebrity (she won last year) who had me standing there with my cafĂ© grande yelling at her not to give up.

Feeling a bit like an idiot now. Oh well. Shouldn't discriminate. Every little bit helps. Right?

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