The marathon starts downtown in my home time, and quickly moves inside a house. It twists and turns inside that house, doubling back on itself. There are chalked lines drawn on the floor with numbers indicating which route you should follow this time through the room. I don’t notice them at first and have to retrace my steps. The numbers differ from room to room and they do not start at 1. This room contains routes labeled “2,8,9”; route 2 continued as route 2 in the next room, but route 8 turned into something else when it got outside. Route 9 just twists around in the room and causes confusion. There are also kilometer marks. One room has a tile floor and the chalk has gotten skuffed up so as to be invisible.

It is impossible to go fast. I’m never sure if I’ve gone the right way. The guy who is running beside me keeps persuading me to stop and rest. I realize I’m running terribly slowly — just jogging really, but somehow I don’t care. It’s impossible to do well, it doesn’t matter, nobody cares, so why try?

At the first rest stop they are serving iced-tea because it is a nicely dehydrating drink. They also have tiny cups of sugar water for “serious” runners. The sugar water tastes vile.

Now we’re out on the streets again. We run around the block and then back inside the house…

And then slowly I wake up — oh, marathons aren’t really like that. How odd.


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