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Nov 28, 2022
This week’s theme
Words originating in running

This week’s words
marathon
troche
interlope
prodrome
dromomania

Anu Garg finishing the Seattle Marathon, Husky Stadium, Nov 26, 2022
Anu Garg finishing the Seattle Marathon, Husky Stadium
Nov 26, 2022
Photo: MarathonFoto

Previous week’s theme
Which came first, noun or verb?
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A.Word.A.Day
with Anu Garg

Last Saturday I did it. I ran in the Seattle Marathon, the whole 26 miles of it. I'm glad they scheduled it on Nov 26, not Nov 30. Who would want to run 30 miles?

It was 26 miles of sweat, adrenaline, and joy (not counting the last two miles of groaning). It took me about six hours... plus six years. A marathon in more ways than one.

In Jan 2017, I decided to run a marathon and started training. I did a half marathon and continued training. I was all set to run the full marathon.

Life happens.

I fell and had a concussion (not while running).

I went through a divorce. My mother had a stroke and I went to be with her for a year. Returned to Seattle and ... the biggest danger after a stroke is falling ... and that’s exactly what happened. She fell and broke her hip in two places. I went back to see her.

Each time I registered to run (fee: $150)* and each time I had to sit it out.

My dog died and a few other things happened too. I signed up again and Covid happened. But I continued running.

Running for the first mile, especially in winters, is no fun. I could have been lying on a couch under a blanket with a book in my hand. What am I doing here on the trail, in the cold rain? In about a mile the body warms up, and after that it’s just a matter of putting one step after another. Give me a sip of water and a bite of Clif bar every hour or so and I feel I could run forever.**

If you are running for hours at a time, it’s a great way to catch up with your podcasts. On the trail I often see people with earbuds. I prefer no music or podcasts when running. The rhythmic fall of one step after another, the crunch of the gravel or the autumn leaves, the honk of the geese, it’s all music when I’m running. Meditative too. I also like to say Good Morning to people I cross paths with if they don’t have earbuds on.

Last Saturday I did it. Running with thousands of people is a unique experience. People of all shapes and sizes. All ages and skin colors, running together.

To run a marathon takes some sitting, metaphorically speaking.

What marathons are you looking to run in your life? A marathon not necessarily involving running, or even something physical. What marathons, of any kind, have you run? Share below or email us at words@wordsmith.org. Include your location (city, state).

While I give my legs some well-deserved rest, this week we’ll run with words. We’ll feature five words that have their origins in running.

*Shouldn’t they pay us, the ones who are actually running?
**For human values of forever.

marathon

PRONUNCIATION:
(MAR-uh-thon/thuhn)

MEANING:
noun:1. A footrace of 26 miles, 385 yards (42.195 km).
 2. Any long-distance race, for example, a swimming marathon.
 3. An endurance event or contest, such as a dance marathon.
 4. An event of greater than usual length, for example, a Netflix marathon.
adjective:Relating to something that requires a lot of effort and endurance.
verb tr.:To take part in a long race, task, event, etc., or one that requires long sustained effort.

ETYMOLOGY:
After Marathon, a village in Greece, the site of victory over Persians in 490 BCE and from where a messenger ran to Athens to carry the news. Earliest documented use: 1896.

USAGE:
What was meant as a brief run of negotiations became a marathon.”
An Unenriching Debate; The Economist (London, UK); Sep 10, 2022.

“The first day of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s long-awaited pre-indictment hearing ... finally ended after a marathon session lasting nearly 12 hours.”
Yonah Jeremy Bob; PM’s Lawyers Present New Evidence; Jerusalem Post (Israel); Oct 3, 2019.

“We were in a musical mood, and so we marathoned Shine, Amadeus, and Immortal Beloved (one of your favorite films).”
C.J. Cala; Some Blue Suited Bird; Createspace; 2016.

See more usage examples of marathon in Vocabulary.com’s dictionary.

A THOUGHT FOR TODAY:
If the doors of perception were cleansed everything would appear to man as it is, infinite. -William Blake, poet, engraver, and painter (28 Nov 1757-1827)

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