Countries, Europe, Sport

The Marathon Men

We’d all like to turn the clock back and pushed on and become one of The Marathon Men.

But that’s enough about my love life.

The Marathon is the closest Olympic discipline to my own athletic talents.

Having pounded the streets of the UK as a promising road runner in my youth.

Running through my head

Homer run

I could more than relate to how the commentators were calling the race.

And perhaps weigh in with my own contributions based on having covered the original Marathon course in Greece.

And my Olympic efforts.

I’ll keep how much of it to myself.

It is still though to see the signposts for Marathon in Athens.

Or a bunny run

And the stadium for the first Modern Olympics bang centre in the downtown capital.

Which brings me to a gripe about the Games becoming overmodernised.

With the imperious Eliud Kipchoge taking the finishing line on a non-descript street in Tokyo.

Instead of the traditional finish inside the stadium.

Tracking Marathon’s history

And I’m ready to make my move


And we can blame the English for that having ditched the 385 yards around the running track in 2012.

For London’s Pall Mall which was followed by the Sambodromo in Rio, the parade area that serves as a spectator mall for Carnival.

True, it means that the public, rather than corporate get to see the runners break the tape.

Greek god: At the Acropolis


Although I suspect that the bigwigs have probably nabbed that vantage point too.

But while World Marathon holder Paula Radcliffe regaled us with the importance of history to the Marathon…

Stadium is perfect stage

And where the race should finish

The entry to the stadium is one now denied us.

And today’s runners won’t get to sample the outpouring of emotion, congratulations and scattering of laurels at your feet.

Which the third leg in the winning Scottish Schools Road Relay champions of 1982 in Grangemouth Sports Stadium got to enjoy.

The Marathon Men are coming.



Keep on truckin’… the five best carnivals

Mardi annual: Mardi Gras

Mardi Gras, New Orleans

Come on take me to the Mardi Gras. Singing aside, yes, take me to Mardi Gras in New Orleans.

I’ve flirted with Norleans, most notably at the annual IPW, the American Travel Fair, where the Preservation Society Jazz Band entertained us.

And drunk the Sazerac and eaten the gumbo and jambalaya.

But I’ve yet to get there… soon, though.

Of course, we owe it all to King Louis XIV, naturellement, and Pierre Le Moyne d’iberville.

The highlight is the Rex Ball. As they used to say in Norleans… laissez les bons temps rouler, or ‘let the good times roll.’


Rio, Rio, by the sea-oh

Float on: Rio

Rio, the self-titled Biggest Show On Earth…. and it all starts with the Romans.

The Classical Romans threw a wine festival back in the day to the vino god Dionysius, or Bacchus.

The Portuguese adopted it with ‘Entrudo’ and then took it to Brazil.

In 1840 the first Rio masquerade took place with polka and waltz, of all things, front and centre.

Samba, the music of the Africans, took over in 1917. And we’ve never looked back.


Notting Hill, London

Golden vision: PIcture:

The Caribbean Carnival of St Pancras Town Hall doesn’t have the same ring to it as Notting Hill.

But that’s how it started out indoors in 1959 before they took it outside.

And the rest is history.

A million people take to the streets every August Bank Holiday Weekend at the end of the month… She’ll have me cutting the grass.


Santa Cruz de Tenerife

Toast to Carnival: On Tenerife

Europe’s biggest carnival and the second largest in the world.

A fancy dress fest, it culminates in the entierro de la sardina (burial of the sardine).

And they pack them in for that like…!


Carnavale de Venezia

The Mask: Venetian Carmival

It’s as old as time… well 1162 at least and a military victory before Carnavale went on to become a Rennaisance staple.

But the mean Holy Roman Emperor Francis II banned it in 1797.

Probably got given a dodgy mask at the hire shop.

And it only really came back in 1979.

A package for Carnavale

If you’ve got a fancy mask you want to give an outing then we found this package with Weekend A La Carte

Three nights Mascheranda package from February 21-24.

That’s entertainment, dance and costume hire. And party in the Palazzo Pisani Moretta on the Grand Canal.

And the chance to pose in St Mark’s Square.


And just to get your started here is Barbados Crop Over, Foreday Morning and Grand Kadooment…