"Facts do not cease to exist because they are ignored." -Aldous Huxley

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wTuesday, August 10, 2004

PASSING THE TORCH: Today Books & Culture/Christianity Today Online carried my review of the ancient Olympics, in time for the Summer games:

True story: Over the last year, several acquaintances have told me that they are training to run a marathon. The conversation to follow invariably went something like this:

Me: Are you CRAZY?

Them: What do you mean crazy?

Me: Don't you realize how horrible that is for you?

Them: Uh …

Me: Your body runs out gas and starts to consume itself in order to finish the race.

Them: It's not that bad.

Me: It's incredibly harmful.

Them: You're just out of shape.

Me: Look, the first guy to run the marathon, they guy the race is NAMED FOR, died.

Them: (Blank look.)

So here it is for all you doubters. In 490 BC, a man ran over 26 miles from the plain of Marathon to Athens to announce to the residents of the city that their army had defeated the invading Persians. According to Plutarch, that messenger, "running with his armor hot from the battle and falling in the doors of the prytaneis, could only say 'Be happy! We have won!' and immediately expired" [more]

posted by Jeremy at 12:47 PM