For two years, I have been active as a voluntary first aider for St John Ambulance, which means I get the opportunity to help out in case accidents happen at local events. I have also covered a number of smaller and bigger runs, including the London Marathon. London, which I had run twice, is a hotbed for costumed marathoners, who try to collect funds for the charities of their interest, and among the starters are bobsleds, Darth Vaders, toilets, and deep sea divers, not to mention the large number of Elvis impersonators. So why not running a marathon in a costume myself? Dressing up as a first aider would be straightforward and more or less authentic, as I already had my uniform, consisting of green shirt, trousers and belt, and I would add a hi-vis anorak and boots. I could not find a world record for the fastest marathon dressed as a first aider in the Guinness book, but I would get a chance, though as a paramedic. Anyway, except for the job tag, the uniform looks quite the same. I had already planned that my next marathon would be in Tórshavn, the capital of the Faroes, in June (when it would hardly get dark at all, or hot anyway). Islands in the North Atlantic would probably be not the worst place in the world to run with an anorak on, and with an exotic uniform on, I wouldn’t be mistaken for a local first aider on duty.
The Faroes (Faroe Islands would be redundant) are a group of islands between Norway, Scotland and Iceland. They are a constituent nation of the kingdom of Denmark, but with an autonomous status. The Faroes got their name from the sheep that thrive here since the settlement in Viking times, and wool or knitwear pullovers are great souvenirs, be it high fashion or from charity shops (though fish are the biggest export). On a tour through the islands, the towering bird cliffs of Vestmanna were admired, but also the spectacularly situated and inviting town of Klaksvík.
|Chickens in Klaksvik|
While carbo-loading on the day before the race, I had to learn that the USA (or more precisely their president) threatened to leave the Paris Climate agreement. No one should believe that the effects of climate change wouldn’t affect. From the perspective of a runner, who knows if it will be possible (or desirable) to run a marathon in some regions of the world in some decades from now. And here the anorak comes in again: as a clumsy statement of solidarity with people affected by global warming. Actually, my travels to marathons have produced quite a bit of carbon dioxide: A cycle ride within Cambridge to the start of the Boundary Run would account for 150 g CO2-emission, and a flight to the Faroes from Edinburgh for over 400 kg. Altogether, my travels to and from 102 marathons in 33 countries have caused nearly 7.5 tons emission! Though the marathons were often not the main reason for a long distance travel, it is clear that offsetting this was the least I could do, but there is a lot more to think about.
On Saturday, 3rd June, the marathon (including half and fun run) was started in the central pedestrian zone, heading out to the port (all of my recent marathons in countries seemed to pass marinas). The course took a few turns through and around the city, and then went on along a spectacular undulating road around the Kaldbaks-Fjord towards the village Kaldbak and back. The well-kept road along new buildings (many cheers came from the retirement home) and a sea backdrop might even look somewhat Californian on some photos.
|On the road to Kaldbak|
London Marathon Fundraiser for St John Ambulance