I’m not what you’d call a sports fan. I like playing some sports. I really enjoy the occasional basketball scrimmage, for instance. But, I don’t particularly enjoy WATCHING other people play. Maybe it’s because watching people be active makes me want to get out of my seat more. Maybe it’s because they’re getting paid huge sums of money to essentially have fun and get famous. Maybe it’s because I don’t understand all the rules of some sports (like in the case of American football). Whatever it is, it’s always more entertaining to play a game than simply view it. Sure there are some feats of athleticism that are so amazing and impressive that I don’t mind watching–gymnastics is a good example. But, equally, there are some sports that are sooooo unspectacular to watch that I just can’t bear it. Rowing, golf, bowling…all fun to do and not fun to view. My girlfriend will watch ANY sport. I’m not exaggerating when I say that I came into the T.V. room to find her crying over a darts match once. That’s right, crying. Apparently, some underdog was winning. (In my opinion all professional darts players are underdogs…at life).
Then there are the sports that are neither fun to watch nor participate in. Marathon running comes to mind. In fact, this past weekend was the celebrated London Marathon. It’s one of the ‘big five’ marathons on the international circuit and comes in at just over the 26 mile mark (like all the biggies). It’s also the NUMBER ONE fundraising even in THE WORLD! Yes, even bigger than “Idol Gives Back” (you know, the annual episode of the program where they send people like Fergie into the third world and get them to hug poor black people).
So, I don’t want to denigrate the good work that people who run marathons are doing. Bully for them and their terrific cardiovascular systems and all the generous people who sponsor them for various charities. But…it’s boring as shit to watch, isn’t it? And it makes me my lungs and knees hurt. That’s why today’s great thing goes to the fantastic group of people who help to provide a bit of spectacle.
129. People Who Run Marathons In Costume
Here’s a normal boring-ass marathon runner…
Here is a heroic person running the distance as Pac-Man.
I think we can all agree that running a marathon is an incredible feat but it’s hardly a selfless one. It’s not that I think altruism DOESN’T exist in the world, it’s just…come on…nobody runs a marathon for purely altruistic reasons. Even if you are running it for charity and not for victory, you know you’d expect some minor rewards to come your way. You’re running 26 miles! You want at least a pat on the back if not accolades from your colleagues whenever you bring up the fact that you’re doing it, the pleasure of eating giant meals in preparation for the run and not least, the warm embrace of a tinfoil wrap to wear after it’s all done. But pity the poor bystander who may be supporting that runner, as a friend or family member. They’re gonna be standing there for hours watching a bunch of do-gooders jog by in Nikes and tank-tops. The least you deserve, as a loyal spectator (doing the REAL selfless hard work of cheering people on and handing out cups of water) is the slight possibility that you’ll be entertained. Thank God for people like these two banana ladies.
What would be even more entertaining is if their presence caused other runners to do comedy pratfalls. If only we could get two more runners dressed as ‘rubber chicken’ and ‘whipped cream pie’. I’m also a big fan of runners dressed as superheroes. It’s like being at Universal Studios Adventure Island (but with less roller coasters and funnel cakes).
But, at the end of the day, I’m not critical of ANY effort to make the race a bit more interesting. I mean, I have no idea what this guy/girl is dressed as, but I still appreciate it. Let’s pretend that s/he is running as an iced-cream sandwich. Yum.
Of course, runners should take some precautions before heading out in a gorilla suit or the like. It gets mad-hot under mascot outfits, as any poor slob wearing a Chip or Dale costume from The Disneyworld parade can tell you. I had to wear a mascot outfit once when I was an elf at a Santa’s workshop for The Erie Zoo. Walking around with a giant costume head was stifling and I felt super clumsy in it. And that was in the winter and in an enclosed space. Let me tell you, my hot chocolate breaks were frequent and necessary. So, here’s a couple of links from runner’s sites about how to do it right:
Mercifully, this whole costume/dress-up thing is a trend that has legs (no pun inte–well OK, yes I like it. Pun indeed intended.) You’ll find runners putting the effort in at most of the major races nowadays. Whilst NYC’s most recent put out some good efforts (my fave being Mr. Incredible), I think this year’s London race wins by a mile. They’ve thrown down the gauntlet for the 2010 marathons, in my opinion. Check out the best of lists here as linked below and judge for yourself.
Come on NYC 2010! There’s still time to take the title this year. You can start prepping for the marathon here: The best costume shop in the world?