ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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The Marathon as Disport

The marathon, perhaps the most elemental of all sports, celebrates self-discovery and a non-competitive pushing of physical limits. 

In over 30 years of watching sport on TV, nothing has mesmerised me more than the marathon. To watch a runner stretch his or her physical limits to finish a race and then savour the moment in extreme fatigue represents sport at its non-competitive best. For most marathoners, what matters is just the route and the elements. Speed is secondary.

The marathon may be the most elemental of all sports. It requires neither expensive equipment nor specialised technical skills. John Ngugi, a long-distance running legend from Kenya, honed his skills running to and from school, barefoot. He once said, “I had to run back home from school because I had to tend to the cattle, cultivate the family farm, cut firewood, fetch water and take milk to the dairy processor.”

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