It amazes me to think that I’ve been a runner for over a dozen years. That’s quite an achievement for a former couch potato.
During the past years, I’ve run many races – 5k, 10k, half marathons – but only 2 full marathons. Although the first marathon is always memorable for any runner, it was my second marathon that was the most interesting.
The year was 2005. I had convinced Gilles and our very good friends, Cathie and Bob, to register for the Paris Marathon. What could be more perfect than running in my favourite city in the world in springtime?
With our race spots in place and a long winter of training behind us, we headed to France for a week of sightseeing and of course the race.
As he did for my first marathon in Chicago, Bob was running with me in Paris. I liked running with Bob. Gilles and Cathie were both much faster than we were and Bob was great company for a newbie runner like me. He would chat amicably while I couldn’t do much more than grunt and pant.
Neither of us was having a particularly good run that day, but it was nothing compared to the Italian couple just ahead of us on the course.
The incident occurred around the 30k mark. It sounded like they were having an argument of sorts – loud voices (even by running standards) and wild arm gestures.
All of a sudden, she gave him a hard shove.
He pushed her back – equally hard.
A short shoving match commenced, but before we knew it, they were throwing punchs at each other – blows aimed at the face and head.
Within seconds, course marshalls appeared out of nowhere and surrounded the fighting couple trying to separate them.
Bob and I continued to run on in stunned silence for several seconds before we finally looked at each other and burst out laughing. Did that really just happen?
It’s not uncommon to see some strange things during a race – runners in costumes, jugglers, spectators in costumes, even spectators flashing the runners as they go by – but this was new. We’d NEVER seen two runners break out into a full-blown brawl.
We amused ourselves for the rest of the race speculating on what triggered the altercation. Years later we still giggle over the incident and I can’t help but wonder whatever happened to that couple.
I suspect they no longer run together.
Thank you for visiting me today. I hope you enjoy today’s treat of Mille Feuille.