Seeing a runner in Westchase is about as common as finding out a Bucs home game will be Blacked out on TV due to lack of sufficient attendance. In Westchase there are trail runners, road warriors, morning joggers, midnight trekkers, barefoot runners, 5k specialists, Stroller pushers, and even our local favorite, the run now drink later Tap It and Run group.
The best way to distinguish these fleet footed cardio cravers is by the stickers they sport on the back of their Eco friendly vehicles.
In most areas, seeing a “Joe Schmo 5K” bumper sticker is all well and good but do to the incredible genetics and strong will of Westchase natives, it seems like the simplistic yet stoic “26.2” sticker is far more common. The stickers may be common but the facts I am about to give you about Marathons are just the opposite. They are so rare in fact that by reading this your chances of being hit by lighting while defending yourself from a great white shark will certainly sky rocket. Proceed with caution…
First and foremost, how did marathons start and why are they 26.2 miles? This question has a two part answer and will put you at level one Elite Status. In 490 BC, after a feta filled salad at Little Greek, Pheidippides, a Greek soldier, ran 25 miles from the battlefield at Marathon to Athens to spread the word that the Greeks had beat the Persians in battle and in a heated Hot Dog eating contest. After he arrived, Pheidippides yelled out,"Rejoice, we are victorious,” then collapsed and died. He did not receive a sticker for his run. Consider yourselves more fortunate than he.
Marathons of around 25 miles continued until the London Olympics in 1908. Although the length was originally intended to be 26 miles, with a start at Windsor Castle and the finish at White City Stadium, Queen Alexandra requested the distance be extended 385 yards — or 26.2 miles — to the East Lawn so that the royal children could watch the race from their nursery. Royals, they really are spoiled. I guess it was too much work to get into the Royal Horse and buggy and join the peasants at the finish line. Geeeeze…
Now let’s really get crazy and increase our knowledge to level 2 clearance. A 140 pound woman will burn around 2,777 calories when running a marathon. That means that she could enjoy the delicious and calorically infamous Outback Steakhouse Aussie Cheese Fries with ranch after the race and break even on calories. If that doesn’t make 4 hours of cramps and foot trauma worth it, I don’t know what does.
Speaking of 4 hours, the average manathoner will finish the race in 4:24 and the average marathonette will cross the line with gusto at 4:52. If you want to shoot for the stars, be like Atsushi Sato of Japan who finished in 2 hours, 41minutes, and 8 seconds while maintaining an average speed of 9.77 miles per hour which equates to about a 6 minute and 8 second mile and the speed of your golf cart while kicking it into high gear on the way to the back 9 at the Westchase Golf Club. That time would have also been fast enough for dead last at this year’s Olympics.
The time has come for the grandiose position of level 3 clearance. Did you know that there are 5,280 feet in a mile, making Denver, the mile high city, just high enough to earn the name with an exact elevation of the required criteria for mile high status? 5,280 feet in a mile also means that if we multiply that by the 26.2 miles in a marathon you will have to blister through blisters for 138,435 feet. Considering the average stride is around four and a half feet that means you will have to take 30,763.3 steps to complete this grueling task. If you are more of a Geography buff than a math geek, let me blow your mind by taking you out west to the City by the bay. The Golden Gate Bridge, in its entire splendor, is 8,980 feet long. All you would have to do is put on a wind breaker and a helmet cam and make the trip across 15.41 times to have gone far enough to be seen by stuck up Royal children waiting at the toll booth at the start of this marvel of modern architecture.
This article was not meant to scare but to educate. I mean, why would you not want to know that if your wife drove the kids to the Brandon mall at noon, you could walk there and at 9 PM arrive just in time for a ride home and still be able to say you had just completed a Marathon and had done it 19 hours faster than the slowest Marathon ever recorded? Seriously, is it not important to know that when you think training is getting rough in the 54 degree Florida winters, a woman in the Siberian Ice Marathon, held each January in Omsk, Russia, is plodding along through snow and temperatures of minus 39 degrees Fahrenheit?
Jogging Junkies, it has been a pleasure spending time with
you and I look forward to seeing you all at the Westchase 5K.