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.