Wednesday, November 4, 2009
Sunday morning (blessed extra hour of sleep) my cousin and I swilled quarts of caffeinated beverages and drove from Boston to Hastings, hopped on a metro north train, walked north to Central Park and watched her daughter run (4:31:52, but I'm not bragging) the 40th NYC marathon, along with 40,000 others, including at least 2 men in kilts, several men in drag and women in ballgowns; runners tattoo'd, painted, bedecked and bedazzled and bonneted, lithe Frenchman in matching outfits and berets running side by side; several couples holding hands; women in bikinis and a man in full camouflage carrying a knapsack; Italians, Scandinavians, Africans and South Americans, barefoot runners, and runners in wheelchairs, runners with their causes or beloved’s name emblazoned upon their bodies…. They were one and all fleet of foot, or fleet in some way.
And afterward, having crossed the finish line in glory and then stopped short to say hello to their sore bodies and feel the chill in the air, all over Central Park the runners draped themselves in tin foil space blankets advertising every possible sponsor (Dr. Frog’s Liniments; Atalanta’s Ache-Prevention; Susie’s Steroids and Flubber Emporium…)
Since running is not my strong suit what else could I do but look for a patron saint of running?
And I am dismayed and disheartened to report there is not one. Running water has a patron: St John Nepomucene (Why? Because there are lots of statues of him on bridges?) And runaways have several patron saints: Dymphna, Eulalia of Merida & Alodia.
Petronilla is the patron of travelers in the mountains; she was running away from the man her father wanted her to marry: Flaccus. She heard the name and headed for the hills?
It is hard to believe the sport of running has not appropriated a saint.(There are so many.) On TV we watched Derartu Tulu burst through the finish line; the first thing she did was to cross herself. Since I feel confident she was not enacting my father’s old mantra for leaving the house prepared for all eventualities: Spectacles (forehead), testicles (obvious), wallet (Left shoulder), watch (Right shoulder). So to whom exactly was she praying?