Saturday, 16 April 2011

Ancient marathon runners

London marathon today has reminded me of my sister in law Madge who started running marathons after she got to 60. She did it to prove something to her husband who refused to be as impressed as the rest of us were. She always finished the marathons even though often much later than most. Marathon running became a huge part of her life after the publicity she got from the papers and TV. I just boggled that anyone would actually take pleasure in running all that way, especially at her age.
The price she paid was a heavy one. Knees were the main problem and after one operation she then only ran half marathons. Only? It was still too far for me. But it got her around. She ran half marathons all around the world, starting with the New York marathon and ending with the one in Hong Kong.
She hobnobbed with the famous veteran runners and was an expert at getting stores and businesses to support her efforts and sponsor her. She made the most of her final years by becoming a celebrity. She had a small fitness program on local TV and started to write a book entitled "Fun at fifty. Sin at sixty." I am not sure it was ever finished.
Madge was quite a girl. She turned her old age into a voyage of discovery that both enthralled and shocked those close to her. As I watch today's runners later I will remember her with great affection. She died about eleven years ago. Rest in peace Madge, certain that no one running today could match your determination and stamina.

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