In the centuries before 500 BC, Greek civilisation had not taken firm roots. Greece was more a collection of city-states like Athens, Sparta, Macedonia, Ionia etc., than an organised country. It lay spread over from the Aegean Sea, to the shores of the Black Sea, South Italy and Turkey. These states and their colonies reached great levels of cultural prosperity. Classical Greece excelled in architecture, drama, science, mathematics and philosophy. Though the city states did not share an identity, they partook in a common culture and spoke the same Greek language.
There were frequent skirmishes. The states alternatively allied with or fought one other. In 508 BC, when Athens was threatened by Sparta, the Athenian aristocrat Cleisthenes proposed to his fellow citizens that Athens undergo a revolution: that all citizens share in political power, regardless of status: that Athens become a "democracy". Athenians responded enthusiastically and succeeded in repulsing Sparta. The advent of the democracy cured many of the ills of Athens, leading to a 'golden age' for the Athenians.
How would you love to lead the life of Robinson Crusoe?
With not even Friday around?
For one hundred years?
Lonesome George did. George is, rather was, a giant tortoise in the island archipelago of Galapagos. Galapagos lie 1000 kilometers away from the shores of Equador in south America. These islands were made popular by Charles Darwin, who visited them in the nineteenth century and was inspired into writing his epoch making Evolution of Species. Before that, the Orthodox Church had ordained man a special and direct creation of God. Few dared to dispute. Darwin did. Based on his studies of the one-meter-in-diameter giant tortoises and thirteen different species of tiny finches, Darwin concluded that man was just a by-product of scientific evolution.
Back to the giant tortoises of Galapagos. The Galapagos islands are not a breakaway from the mainland. They were formed out of a volcanic eruption from deep within the sea. Being far, very far away from any other habitation, how come life came into existence on these volcanic rocks? It is postulated that a dynasty of tortoises that had originated around 4 million year ago on the south American mainland, found its way to the Galapagos archipelago squatting on some floating raft of vegetation. As the islands had plenty of fodder, the tortoises grew to a giant size. Lack of any predators also helped. Soon, they subdivided into 15 sub-species of giants, each developing on a different island. Historically, there was a population of 200,000 Galapagos giant tortoises.
She climbed up a tree as a Princess and got down as Queen Elizabeth. I was at the same venue in June 2010
The Safaricom Marathon in Lewa Wildlife Conservancy, Kenya, was to be held on 26th June 2010. A couple of days earlier, we went sight-seeing to stay at Treetops Lodge. After going there, I realised, what a lucky brush I was in for! A brush with Royalty!
5 February 1952: "For the first time in the history of mankind, a young Princess climbed up a tree one day, and after having described as her most thrilling experience, climbed down the next day a Queen" (as recorded by Jim Corbett about Queen Elizabeth - II).
28 June 2010: I was there at the same resort, doing the same thing: Photographing animals coming to lick salt in front of the Treetops Lodge.
The original TreeTops Lodge where Elizabeth climbed
The burnt stump now left, post the Mau Mau Uprising
TreeTops Lodge now
Syndicated with Edmonton Journal
There was no question which photograph to choose when it came time for Chi Ping Chan’s family to select something for their beloved father and grandfather’s obituary.
It was the photo that captured the man at the age of 83 doing what made him a legend in southwest Edmonton through the 1980s, 1990s and well into the 2000s: running shirtless down a snowy sidewalk in the dead of winter, head covered with a tuque, arms wrapped up to his elbows with massive mittens and shoulders slightly hunched in his distinctive running style.
“This is, in a way, iconic,” his youngest son, Dr. Ming Chan, said of the image. “When we think about him, he would diligently and conscientiously brave the elements, no matter what it was.”
Chan did not move to Edmonton until 1983, but between an exercise regime that grandson Joe Chan described as superhuman and an ability to make fast and lasting friendships in spite of any language barriers, the senior left his mark.
Chan died May 29 at Grey Nuns Hospital from lymphoma. He was 91.
His death prompted remembrances throughout the city, but particularly among those with roots in the southwest.
For the ivy league marathoners, the goal is the Boston qualifier.
For lesser mortals, it is the Oprah qualifier.
Talk show veteran Oprah Winfrey is most known for her Book Club that changed America. But equally significant was the Oprah Effect on marathon participation. Her running changed the marathon scene. She ran the Marine Corps Marathon in Washington D.C in 1994, making the event a watershed in the history of marathon running.
That Sunday, all runners woke up to a thunderstorm and the rain didn’t let up until the end of the race. There were no corrals at the start. There were no chips. Oprah stood in the front line of a field 16,000 strong. Her finish time was, and still is, one of the most talked-about marathon times. Marathoners-in-training want to know what time they need to run to beat Oprah. So exactly how fast did she run her marathon? Oprah had kept a trainer and trained diligently for the event and was planning to run 4:30. That was a perfect estimate. Her official time was 4:29:15, which translates to a 10:16/mile pace (or 6:23/km). The Oprah qualifier.
With media attention riveted on Oprah alone during the run, the real winner lay forgotten. Winfrey elegantly set right this wrong by introducing in her show Susan Malloy, the female winner, who finished about two hours ahead of Oprah.
Syndicated with FoxNews.com
Chosen to be a torchbearer at the 2012 Summer Games, blind ultra-runner Simon Wheatcroft will carry the Olympic Flame running solo -- with only the guidance of his iPhone.
“If you had asked me three years ago if training alone was possible while being blind I would have said no," Wheatcroft told FoxNews.com. "Now I do it and ... I realize perhaps a lot of things are possible.”
The RunKeeper app uses the GPS tracker in the iPhone to track your runs, including duration, distance, pace, calories burned, and path traveled on a map. The app reads your current stats over your headphones as you run, and the virtual coach warns if you are ahead or behind pace.
“This allowed me to match distances with markers on my route. So I would pair a dip before a turn with a distance marker from RunKeeper," Wheatcroft explained.
'He's truly an inspiration -- we're huge fans' - Jason Jacobs, RunKeeper developer
Blind by the age of 17, the 30-year-old from the UK undertook the challenge of learning to run outdoors alone after he lost his guide runner to a distant college.
Syndicated with San Francisco Chronicle
The legend of Jack Kirk began one day in 1933 on a steep slope called Steep Ravine in Marin County during the famous Dipsea Trail race. First run in 1905, the Dipsea is the oldest trail race in America. It is run every year on the second Sunday in June. The scenic 7.4 mile course from Mill Valley to Stinson Beach is considered to be one of the most beautiful courses in the world. The stairs and steep trails make it a grueling and treacherous race.
The runners were tired as they headed toward Stinson Beach when suddenly a man appeared out of nowhere tearing down the slope, sliding and leaping over brush, passing other runners like they were standing still.
"Boy," one runner said, "that guy runs like a demon."
From that day forth, Jack Kirk was known as the "Dipsea Demon," and he lived up to the nickname, running the arduous 7.1-mile trail race out of Mill Valley 67 consecutive times. He didn't quit until he collapsed at the top of the grueling 1,362-foot elevation Cardiac Hill -- at age 96.
Kirk, who lived almost his entire life in the Sierra foothills town of Mariposa, was a bit of an odd duck, living for years without running water or electricity, driving old junky cars and fighting with his neighbors.
Syndicated with www.twincities.com
June 12, 2012
Submitted by Anand Anantharaman1 on Mon, 2012-06-11 23:29
Ludwick Mamabolo finished the 2012 Comrade’s Marathon clocking 5:31:03. It was after seven years a South African was winning the Comrades. But in achieving this, Mamabolo took heavy risks. Ludwick Mamabolo elaborates while speaking to Marathon in Marathon.com
MinM: What would you consider as your most savoured moment while running Comrades 2012?
LM: When I got to the 52km mark, a radio announcer said that all the three leading runners, who had 30 minutes to finish, were South African. That was a big boost that carried me to the finish line.
MinM: Why, whom were you competing against?
LM: Since 2005, no South African national had won the Comrades Marathon, run in our own homeland. I wanted to change that. Zimbabwean Muzhingi had won for three earlier years and before that, there was Russian Shvetsov. Both of them were running this year too. I had to finish before them.
MinM: What had you done for that?
LM: I had bet my life and career to get win this laurel for my own country. I was working in the ABSA Bank. When I asked for three month’s leave to train for Comrades, they refused. So I quit my job and started training in Limpopo.
MinM: You took a big chance. What would you have done if you had not made it?
LM: I would have lost a job plus the R 300,000 prize money (laughs).
Submitted by Anand Anantharaman1 on Tue, 2012-06-05 19:50
Elysa Barron decided to run a full marathon every week in each of the 50 states of USA + Washington D C in just 52 weeks. Why would she run so much? The real motivation set in when she decided to raise funds for “First Descents,” a charity floated by Brad Ludden, an international kayak enthusiast. A first descent is the first time a person successfully kayaks a river or section of river that has never been done. Through his first descents, Brad found immense challenge, adventure, community and personal growth. When his aunt fell victim to cancer, Brad conceptualized First Descents, an organization that strives to improve the lives of young adults with cancer by offering whitewater kayaking and other outdoor adventure sports. These experiences significantly increase self confidence, empowering people affected by cancer to regain control of their lives.
MinM: You have completed 52 marathons in 342 days. Does that signify a record of sorts?
EB: Unnofficially yes. I decided to skip the Guinness World Record paperwork, which could have made it official. The current record for a woman to complete an official marathon in all 50 states is 380 something days
MinM: You had set off to raise $ 1000 per marathon, totaling $ 52,000 for First Descents. How much did you finally achieve?
EB: Just over $20,000. I hope to raise the rest in the next few years from the ‘Fortitude for First Descents marathon & half.’
MinM: What is your profession? How did you spare so much time to devote to running?