Las Vegas Sun

October 23, 2019

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Ron Kantowski considers what goes through the mind of a marathon runner

While I've never run a marathon, I did watch one on TV once. It was 1972, the Munich Olympics. Frank Shorter, the great American distance ace, was still running like his hair was on fire when he entered the Olympic stadium for what amounted to a victory lap before they put the gold medal around his neck.

Only he never heard the roar of the crowd.

That's because an impostor had run into the stadium before Shorter. The crowd had roared all right - for some high school kid who had eluded security, which, sadly, wasn't all that hard to do at the '72 Games.

When Shorter entered the stadium, it was eerily quiet. The crowd thought he was running for the silver medal.

I always wondered what must have been going through Shorter's mind when he ran into the stadium and nobody seemed to notice.

Here are 26.2 things that may have gone through the minds of runners in Sunday's Las Vegas Marathon.

Mile 1: That cute girl with the tight running shorts has a nice rear end. I think I'll run behind her for a while.

Mile 2: Hey, I think I just passed a Kenyan. This is gonna be easy.

Mile 3: Hey, I think I just passed Forrest Gump. This is gonna be real easy.

Mile 4: If I win the marathon, I wonder if I'll get paid before next Thanksgiving.

Mile 5: Can anybody beat the Patriots?

Mile 6: I must be slowing down. Three guys in Elvis suits just passed me. Fat Elvis suits.

Mile 7: Egad! I can't get that "Chariots of Fire" song out of my head.

Mile 8: The cute girl with the tight running shorts is starting to look like a bottle of Evian.

Mile 9: I don't care what kind of rate Palace Station is offering. Next year, me and Jean-Paul are staying at Elaine Benes' place and we're not setting the alarm.

Mile 10: The couple in front of me just stopped to get married. On second thought, running 26.2 miles on an empty stomach wasn't the worst idea I've ever had.

Mile 11: I think I just passed the place where they are going to break ground for a new sports arena. Nah, I must be hallucinating.

Mile 12: "We don't need no education ... " Uh-oh. They said I wouldn't hit The Wall until 20 miles, and Pink Floyd is already pounding a rhythm on my brain.

Mile 13: Upon further review, Rosie Ruiz really wasn't such a bad person.

Mile 14: Either I'm experiencing one heck of a runner's high or the guy at the water station handed me Mayor Goodman's martini by mistake.

Mile 15: I think I'm gonna replenish my carbohydrates with one of those 99-cent shrimp cocktails.

Mile 16: Now I know how Dustin Hoffman felt in "Marathon Man" when Sir Laurence Olivier was drilling on his molars. Heck no, it isn't safe.

Mile 17: I've been running for almost four hours. Certainly the Dolphins or Steelers have scored by now.

Mile 18: The cute girl with the tight running shorts is starting to look like a Peter Max painting.

Mile 19: That Kenyan just passed me.

Mile 20: Forrest Gump just passed me.

Mile 21: The guy who played "Cannon" on TV just passed me.

Mile 22: What's the proper amount to tip the sag wagon driver?

Mile 23: Either I've got a fried Twinkie in my sneaker or that blister on my big toe just exploded like a Roman candle.

Mile 24: "Will Work for Glycogen."

Mile 25: I am Pheidippides of Greece, and we have defeated the Persians at Marathon Stadium. Alas, we didn't cover.

Mile 26.2: I did it! I finished the marathon. Now where's that cute girl with the tight running shorts?