Book Review Back to Marathon, a runner's travel notebook
A good way to pass the jumpsuit for not being able to go running these days due to the confinement of the terrible coronavirus, is to lay hands on reading related to the world of running, and this proposal that we make you will make you travel -and distract you that is missing. It makes us - even the dusty roads of classical Greece, where it all started.
It will make you return to a place where its author never seems to have left, Miguel Calvo, a place where you come traveling, enjoying and writing about the myth of the most iconic event in our sport: The marathon.
Read Back to Marathon (Desnivel editorial, 240 pages) is a journey through the dusty roads that he himself traveled Philippi from Marathon to Athens to announce the triumph of the Greeks against the Persians ... or did he go to Sparta for help? myths and crossed legends that Miguel Calvo (by the way, his Twitter profile is highly recommended: @MiguelCalvo_A) reviews exhaustively to transmit us line by line the original spirit of long-distance racing in an exquisite mix of good narrative, adventure travel and a good dose of interesting historical evidence.
We will accompany the strides of legends like Spiridon Louise, able to debut in 1896 discreetly in the distance and after a single week proclaiming himself the first Olympic marathon champion. And do it in addition with an iconic brand for popular runners: a whole sub 3 hours (two hours and 58 minutes). Thus opening, the Olympic record in the 42k and opening a controversy as old as the Olympics themselves: Where are the best long distance runners from? 40 years later he himself starred in another feat worth remembering, but this one we already let you discover as readers for yourselves.
“The ancient messengers ran carrying the messages from city to city, capable of covering enormous distances in the shortest possible time, and well-trained armies moved with great rapidity along these roads that always seem to end at sea. The first athletes began to compete and made sport one of the most recognizable elements of classical culture. Thousands of years later, the descendants of those first runners were the first to launch into the adventure that was born in the late nineteenth century with the name of marathon in tribute to their hometown ”
On this journey to ancient times full of heroes and gods, and that reaches our own days going through the entire history of the marathon, not only Miguel Calvo, statistician of the AEEA (Spanish Athletics Federation) and collaborator of specialized media, but also a host of great names from the marathon distance, accompany us. how Stefano Baldini (gold in Athens 2004 and last winner of the distance on the original route), Vanderlei from Lima (always in memory the push she suffered in the same Athens 2004 race), the almighty Paula Radclife (record holder of the distance with 2h15: 25) and a long etcetera of myths more.
Do you want to discover where the original spirit of long distance races lies?
If we go deeper into its reading, we can put ourselves in the shoes of those first pioneers of the 19th century, and imagine the uncertainty that must have assailed them before starting to run towards the unknown. Those runners they only had their own legs and some clothes with which nobody would venture today to start a race like the marathon. In front of them, dusty roads and a simply marked starting line on the ground, behind which the only certainty they had was all the tales and stories that had been passed down from generation to generation.
A couple of details that indicate the quality and care that has been devoted to Returning to the Marathon (and that you will be able to verify when you have the book in your hands) is the map of Greece that is placing us throughout this trip through the most universal athletic distance and a chronological index of the stories written on paper, something very useful that is often missed in books.
De Calvo Aníbarro, Miguel (Author)
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