Marathons of the Boston … and the Pennsylvania Varieties

I’m thinking of marathons this morning, as we look back at yesterday’s epic Boston Marathon … and ahead toward today’s Pennsylvania Primary.

First, the Boston one … where on the men’s side, Robert Cheruiyot won his record-tying fourth Boston Marathon with a time of 2:06.46 – sixth fastest in race history. From Heartbreak Hill on, he pulled out into a substantial lead and ran the final miles of the race alone.

Dire TuneSomewhat eclipsing his phenomenal accomplishment, however, was the finish of the women’s race. There, two women battled back and forth … running side by side for many miles, struggling for some shred of advantage … neither giving up. It was epic! Right up to the final mile, they were neck and neck. Then, in the last quarter mile, Dire Tune of Ethiopia kicked it into another gear and crossed the finish line in 2:25.25. Alevtina Biktimirova of Russia came in second with a time of 2:25.27 … making this the closest women’s finish ever, and an amazing testament to grit and determination … and athletic competition in its purest form!

Then we have the Pennsylvania Primary … where the competition has been tough for sure … and the sportsmanship somewhat suspect on all sides. Here we’ve got last-minute, accusatory robo-calls. One, from the Hillary Camp, accuses Obama of lying about his position on gun control (and actually being a supporter of it). Meanwhile, Obama’s robo-calls accuse Hillary of voting to allow our guns to be confiscated.

Aside from the fact that I wish they both WOULD support gun control and WOULD vote to allow our guns to be confiscated … I can’t help but think of the simile of these two running a marathon together. In a civil society, it could be a reprise of yesterday’s finish … two excellent competitors, neck and neck, giving it their all and racing to the finish.

Sadly, the simile just doesn’t carry through. In our Pennsylvania Marathon, starting at about the 23-mile mark, we are treated to the spectacle of elbowing and jostling and other nastiness, as Barack and Hillary vie for the big prize. (Meanwhile, in that other race, we note that McCain, the lone leader, runs the final miles pretty much unscathed and finishes well ahead of the rest of the competition.)

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