Life is locomotion… if you’re not moving, you’re not living. But there comes a time when you’ve got to stop running away from things… and you’ve got to start running towards something, you’ve got to forge ahead. Keep moving. Even if your path isn’t lit… trust that you’ll find your way. — The Flash
They’ve inspired us and they’ve motivated us, today we ask (and answer) – what if our hero runners were superheroes? What would they look like? What would they use as their secret weapon? Without further ado, here we go:
THE FIRST MARATHONER – PHEIDIPPIDES
He was the man who started this whole Marathon craze taking over the world. As a superhero, he brings good news from far away in a timely fashion. You won a battle in a far away place – he’s there to tell you about it. His special weapon – perseverance.
STATUS QUO BUSTER! – KATHRINE SWITZER
She stood up to the ignorance and injustice of how women were treated (not so long ago). As a superhero, she seeks out ignorance and wipes it off the face of the earth. Her special weapon – will and determination.
THEY RUN AS ONE – TEAM HOYT
In their path – where unbreakable walls once stood – there now is a pile of rubble. They are the classic dynamic duo and inspiration is their weapon of choice. Marathons, Ironman Triathlons, running and biking across the US – they’ve done it all and with very impressive times. (Special congrats on finishing Boston Marathon a few days ago)
HE RAN LIKE A DEMON … AND IT STUCK – JACK KIRK
He is responsible for the best quote in the history of running, always worth repeating: “You don’t stop running because you get old, you get old because you stop running.” He not only spoke wise words, but proved them to be true by running cross country races well into his nineties. His superpower – running circles around young runners.
RUNNING OUT OF CHALLENGES – KEVIN LIN
“He is the king of distance,” is an understatement. He has ran across every major desert on this planet and he continues to defy what we think of as possible. His special power is turning back time (superman style – by circling the globe at lightning speed).
HE ZOOMED BY WITH A SMILE – HAILE GEBRSELASSIE
“Hard work, grit, determination and composure are the ingredients to his success. He has moved the goal posts in competitive running by adjusting world records in all of the distances he’s competed. His special weapon is the smile that turns his competitors – and all evil doers – into stone statues.
“NO!” IS NOT AN ACCEPTABLE ANSWER – TERRY FOX
His fight was an inflection point in the battle against cancer. His run across Canada inspired an entire nation and raised millions of dollars to fight Cancer – all this as he was suffering from the disease himself. His superhero weapon is: being there, whispering in your ear: “You can do it!”, when doubt creeps into your thoughts.
HE SHUFFLED PAST THE COMPETITION – CLIFF YOUNG
He waited until he was 61 to show the young ones what long distance running is all about. His record breaking race from Sydney to Melbourne – leaving all the competitors half his age in the dust – taught us we can learn something from the wise mature men. He trained while chasing sheep on his grazing fields, his special weapon are the magic gumboots that let him shuffle past the competition.
STALLION AND BUTTERFLY – ROCKY AND ALI
Only Ali gets a superhero for this post (Rocky is already fictional). He gets the highest honor possible on this blog – he is here and he is not even a pure runner. His training and mental attitude inspired thousands of runners around the world. His special weapon needs no explanation – dancing like a butterfly and stinging like a bee.
THE MIGHTY CZECH LOCOMOTIVE – EMIL ZÁTOPEK
He ran not with money in his pocket, but dreams in his heart. He was a runner’s runner – loved by all lucky enough to have met him. He raced with the most contorted grimace but with the most domineering results of the time. His special weapon – inspired by his grueling training techniques – is picking up the evil doers and running them to the end of the earth on his back (coming back and repeating if there are more there).
More running stories coming soon.
Special thanks to the artist behind the superhero drawings – Rob. You can find more of his work here: http://lovekillsslowly.thecomicseries.com/