Thanks for nothing, Hermes!

Philip Borel blames the fickle Greek god for his defeat by David Snow in the Marathon of Marathons in Athens.

The course was too hilly.

My socks felt funny.

I didn’t bring my shades.

My marathon bib number was unlucky.

But the most important reason why I completed Sunday’s Marathon of Marathons in Athens behind my friend and colleague David Snow is because Hermes let me down.

There I was, running along and feeling good, with just eight kilometres left to go, when all of sudden I saw Snow running right in front of me – the one man in this field of 12,000 whose back I didn’t want to see.

€1.6 million raised for charity already!

David finished the Marathon of Marathons in 4:06 hours. Philip took 4:19 hours. Nearly 250 other private equity and infrastructure people also finished in excellent times.

As part of this awesome challenge, the MoMers have raised more than €1.6 million for children in need around the world, and there is still time to donate. To make a contribution please click here – it will change lives. Thank you for your generosity. 


I could tell he’d just sneaked past me. He looked fast and in control, making big, decisive strides. Already a gap had opened up between us, and it was widening all too quickly.

He hadn’t seen me, so I drew level. “Hello Dave,” I called out to get his attention.  His head shot round and for a moment he starred at me in disbelief. “Oh you bastard”, he hissed, clearly misreading the situation. I told him it was I, not he, who had just been overtaken. We checked our watches, and then we knew for sure: unbeknownst to both of us David had started the race far behind me and at this very moment, 34,000 metres into the Marathon of Marathons, he was running a full seven minutes ahead of me.

Seven minutes! No way would I ever catch up to him. Game over for me. Glory for Dave.

“How’re you feeling?”, he asked graciously. “I think I’m done”, was all I could reply. He upped the pace, and then he was gone, consolidating his lead with every step and leaving me to ponder where it had gone wrong.

I felt better the moment I realised who was to blame: Hermes, patron god of athletics. Hermes, Schmermes. What an ungrateful little god. All those offerings I made, and he couldn’t find the time to subtract a measly few minutes from my run time. A wing-footed weasel, if you ask me. My animal sacrifice to him (lamb kabob special: €34.95) was clearly in vain.

Do yourself a favour – next time you train for a marathon in Greece, don’t count on the help that the local gods will give you come race day.

As for Snow, I wish him a hearty congratulations. His victory was clearly the result of hard training, an undiminished fire in the belly, and possibly the inspiration he received from the “Best of Bananarama” playlist I found on his iPod Shuffle.