Sunday, 1 August 2010

Marathon in Barcelona

I just watched Austar's live transmission from Barcelona on the Eurosport Channel, seeing the finish of the European Games marathon. It was won convincingly by Swiss runner Roethlin for his country's gold medal (actually Switzerland's first ever medal in the Games) in just over two hours fifteen minutes, far ahead of the second placegetter Jose Martinez of the home country, Spain. The winner had been the silver medalist at the last European Games four years ago in Gothenburg, which is a nice progression. Russian Safronov came third, thus taking bronze.

I can't say that I routinely follow international athletics, but the mystique and marvel of distance running is a phenomenon in its own class. Two classy marathoners "back in the day" were among my acquaintances, on different continents, but that connection over the years gave me a small insight into that arcane world. Those athletes, indeed all elite performers and all dedicated sportsfolk, are amazing and deserve our admiration.

The extra frisson for me as the cameras followed the race through the Catalan capital Barcelona, was seeing the featured famous Sagrada Familia (Holy Family) Church. You've seen its distincive image many times. This is the most striking piece of architecture by that eccentric genius Antonio Gaudi, and I saw it "in the flesh" as a fifteen year old, as a half-built and apparently never-to-be-completed structure. I was bemused rather than overmuch impressed and I didn't go on to become either an architect or an artist. Not that I was likely to.

It has been a strange week. Severe challenges have come the way of several people I know. Let's hope things settle down.

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