From the swansong of Arnold Paikin to the debut swan dive of Clive Cameron, it was a weekend of high drama as norms, precedents and etiquette were summarily ignored and cast aside. It was an object lesson of how to let one’s hair down and to hell with precedent and regulations. The only redeeming feature was that everybody enjoyed themselves without killing themselves in the process.
This is a poignant tale of taking two novices through their first marathon. On 22nd March 2009, two unwilling victims – Arnold Paikin and Johann Scholtz – were dragged through their first marathon. This blog chronicles the pathos and pain of that experience. The first half of the blog is my experience of that baleful race and the second is Arnold’s plaintiff riposte to an uncaring slave driver – that is me. Tell me which version that you believe. His or mine?
My version of that momentous day
Clearly it would not be terra incognito for me having already done in excess of 90 marathons & ultras. Contrary to expectations, I have a view that, despite having completed so many, one’s body is not designed to run that far; especially mine. The reason that I say terra incognito is that if one has never run a marathon before, one probably extrapolates from how one felt after a half marathon & imagines – wishful thinking really – that another 21kms cannot be that difficult. Surely not? How can it? What is not factored into that equation is that the body exhausts its glycogen supply after approximately 30kms and then one hits the wall. Apart from that, the body at that point is no longer making timid suggestions that would the mind please desist from such stupid behaviour but now throws a tantrum in the form of pain, blisters & generally becomes bolshie.
Imagine this scenario. You are on the fourth day of a hike. By now one craves something special, anything different from smash and bully beef and possibly – heaven help us – perhaps an unexpected treat. At that moment one of your co-hikers produces a skillet from their pack together with a pancake mix. At first one believes that one is daydreaming but even the smell is too real for a dream. Arnold could have charged us R10 a pancake but instead he made us all a few pancakes each.
Such is the temperament of fellow hiker Arnold Jonathan Paikin, a considerate selfless friend and co-hiker. In fact the best adjective to describe Arnold’s signature trait is solicitous which means to be characterized by or showing interest or concern.