Monday, 26 April 2010

Marathon daze

An old school friend and her husband are visiting. They have spent months preparing for the London marathon and both look sickeningly healthy. While sipping iced water in the pub they tot up what they need to eat in one day to fuel them around the course. It is 600g of carbs, which translates as four big bowls of pasta, a packet of Haribo sweets, two crumpets with honey, buttered toast, bananas, a cereal bar and four tuna sandwiches.

'It's so much to eat! I don't know how I'll do it,' she says. I look at the list. I could easily eat that in an afternoon, if I was feeling bored or depressed.

I'm fairly sure I will never run a marathon. In the list of things I will not achieve with my life, it's probably up there with becoming an astronaut. Watching the marathon by Cleopatra's Needle (a viewing area chosen for its close proximity to Gordon's wine bar) only reinforces this. I see the levels of pain on faces, the limps, the tears. Three people stop to be sick in front of me. A man dressed as Dangermouse comes to an abrupt halt and doubles over, his big mouse paws gripping his stomach, before being escorted away by St John's Ambulance. Crumbs. These people weren't selling it to me.

My friend breezes past, overtaking a giant cardboard Cornetto and Richard Branson dressed as a butterfly. Her husband follows half an hour later. He is walking slowly and appears to be eating a chip. I shout to him. He looks over and shakes his head. 'What am I doing here?' his eyes seem to say. I feel his pain.

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