Friday Letter So help me Hermes

David Snow responds  to Philip Borel’s marathon challenge.

 

Hades – it is the realm of the underworld as imagined by the ancient Greeks. One does not simply enter Hades, but journeys there. A person on his way to Hades must traverse a grim landscape, including crossing Acheron, the river of sadness and grief.

Hades might be thought of not only as a place but a state of mind. It is an emotional destination to which one might journey if, for example, one were defeated in the 2010 Athens Marathon by an older, paler, less experienced colleague – a bleak fate that, in fact, awaits the editorial director of PEI Media. Because, so help me Hermes, I’m sending Philip Borel to Hades!

The devastation that awaits Borel will be the outcome of no garden-variety competition, but the Marathon of Marathons, taking place on 31 October and in a year that marks the 2500th anniversary of the legendary run of Pheidippides. Runners will follow in the steps of the heroic messenger from the battlefield of Marathon to Athens, where he dropped dead (they didn’t carbo-load in those days). PEI Media, together with Campbell Lutyens and UNICEF, has organised a group of nearly 250 private equity- and infrastructure-industry runners to join the race and raise €2.5 million for UNICEF and other carefully selected children’s charities. (At the end of this article, I will challenge you to donate your hard-earned money through my Marathon of Marathons fundraising webpage to these worthy causes, but if you can’t wait, click here).

How am I preparing for what is sure to be a victory of mythological proportions?  I run, I perspire, I swill electrolytes, and I keep an eye out for the wily Bond-villain tricks of Borel. I shudder to relate what recently came to my attention – Borel, based in London, has recruited spies in the New York offices of PEI. This was laid bare in a boring and unlettered column he wrote in April, in which Borel presumed that I “don’t appear to have started [my] training”.

Some spies! Apparently my failure to show up to work dressed like Rex Kwon Do has convinced my double-agent colleagues that I spend most mornings racing to the centre of a jelly donut.

I’d like to now reveal some findings of my own, more revelatory spook-work in the London office. But first, pop quiz! Quick – what is the most important determinant of athletic success? Okay, besides having a fire in the belly, a personal attribute that already radiates glory from within me. And besides “having a cute outfit”, as Borel would say.

And besides fartleks, or whatever they’re called.

Yes, and besides storing a quart of my own blood in an undisclosed refrigerator (check!).

You guessed it – an inspiring iPod workout playlist.

I asked one of my London moles to take Borel out for a three-pint lunch while another mole took a little jog through the editor’s digital music collection. The contents are disturbing but sadly  predictable. My intelligence analysis is a slam dunk: the Snow playlist can beat up the Borel playlist, and this all but guarantees my victory in Greece. Steel yourself, and then have a look at where Borel finds sonic succor:

 

Snow’s iPod workout playlist   

“Ace of Spades”, Motorhead  

“Master of Puppets”, Metallica  

“Rock You Like a Hurricane”, Scorpions  

“Ramblin’ Man”, Allman Brothers

“Hells Bells”, AC/DC  

“Mama Raised a Hellrazor”, Tupac Shakur 

“The Beast in Me”, Johnny Cash

 

Borel's iPod workout Playlist 

“The Sign”, Ace of Base

“Fields of Gold”, Sting

“Rock Me Amadeus”, Falco

“Barbie Girl”, Aqua

“Heaven Is a Place on Earth”, Belinda Carlisle

“Uh Oh We're in Trouble”, Girls Aloud

“Sunshine, Lollipops and Rainbows”, Lesley Gore

 

If you read this article and laughed, you will be happy to make a donation to UNICEF and other children’s charities at my quick and convenient donation website. 

If you read this article and didn’t laugh, you may want to brighten your glum personality by making a donation to UNICEF and other children’s charities at my quick and convenient donation website. 

If you still can’t see fit to make a donation to UNICEF and other children’s charities at my quick and convenient donation website, I invite you to view a personalised message from Hollywood film star Ewan McGregor; take his advice and make a donation to UNICEF and other children’s charities.