Going after having run a marathon is crazy.
One of my favourite Bible verses talks about "going the extra mile" which means to do more than is needed. Running this year’s Geneva Marathon reminded me of this.A highlight was the opportunity to run “The Extra Mile” and raise funds for Unicef. It wasn’t as easy as it sounds.
Crossing the finish line meant the usual good stuff: medals, food, drink, high 5’s …. and stopping! And now you want me to go further! What??? To butcher another Bible verse – “the spirit may be willing, but the legs sure aren’t!”
So having stopped and taken on fuel I moved to the ‘start line’ of the Unicef Extra Mile. It wasn’t a real mile – more of a metaphorical 600 metres - restarted my watch and …. wobbled like a newborn giraffe! And stopped. And walked a bit. And started again. Repeat. etc.
Why do I run? How can I help others? See the type of things that go through my mind when I’m running marathons. (Along with the all too often cry of “when can I stop!”) But there was no way to stop in this extra mile. This was for children. This was to build wells. Wells of hope. Funded by Mont Blanc (and conveniently right outside their store!).
This extra mile was for wells and drinking water for children and their families. For real people. Water has a particular fascination for marathoners and this event was no different. We get wonderful refreshments regularly. And I spit most of mine out or throw it down my back! If you’re tired and thirsty, just wait a few kms and there’s guaranteed water. That’s why I wear Janji clothing because they make running gear that generates funds for water projects. Running marathons for those who cant get regular safe water … the irony is powerfully motivating.
So that was a highlight.
The rest of the event was equally impressive: with all the very best of modern marathons. The ‘user experience’ was excellent and included all the good things that makes for a great marathon experience today - free public transport, a great app, live runner tracking, lots of photos, etc etc.
If you don’t have these things nowadays you’re going backwards. These are what we’re expecting today and our Australian marathons will need to keep up or risk falling behind.
|I guesstimate about 80% of the run was in the country|
|And beautiful countryside it is (but keep an eye out for the horse poo on these trails!)|
|... and then you catch your first glimpse of the Lake and The Jet and you know you've arrived in Geneva|
|Ah, the Geneva Jet -landmark of the city|
I get the feeling that this is Geneva putting its own unique spin on a marathon. And it worked. I wanted to run it not just because I love Geneva but because of what this event stood for. This is their 13th edition and, again in true Geneva style, runners represented 113 countries.
Interesting other events also included were a female only event for 1,400 to “Run like a girl” and junior races, even nordic walking events! Also, the full marathon was a relay event for 350 teams of 4-6 runners. It’s rather strange to be passed mid-race by someone with fresh legs and full energy as they start out on their relay leg ….
- the closing of Mont Blanc bridge for the finish line was spectacular. I always get excited when the very heart of a big city is closed especially for us runners.
|Great finish line on Mont Blanc Bridge - right in the heart of the city|
- Running with my Geneva running friends – the ‘Geneva Runners’. They are a great bunch of folk who run socially and there’s some handy athletes in there … this year we won the teams event in the Marathon, 3rd in the half and 2nd in the 10km. Bravo!
|Proud to be part of Geneva Runners|
|- Cool bibs - love the flag of the country (even though someone cheered on New Zealand within the last 100 metres!)|
|It was wet and puddly all day.|
|A great expo|
|A chilly start ...|
|... soon warmed up.|
|No idea what this guy was chatting about (in french) but it went on and on and on mid-race!|
|First finish line of the day!|
|The last competitor (just ahead of the sweep bus)|
|This remains for me a highlight. I never fail to be inspired by the marathoners' human achievement, persistence and good old hard work, guts and determination.|
And, as always, the obligatory daggy post-run kiss the medal photo!
In summary, this was modern marathoning at its best. Everything we runners could want and need. And then adding the extra mile was a lovely touch. Well done Geneva. Bravo!
Running for others, going the extra mile, made it all worthwhile today. For Unicef, for the kids, and for me.
5-6 May 2018