If anyone is interested in a good analogy, read Into Thin Air. Though not a literary masterpiece, it dovetails nicely with many of the arguments re cheapening the value of the marathon, the corrupting power of money in our respective endeavours, etc. Sir Edmund and Tenzing and many others who followed were great athletes who pulled off an incredible feat. My the 90's, though, people with little or no training but lots of cash were being hauled up the mountain for the bragging rights. I think that applies to a lot of these charity runners.
There are several dozen bodies scattered across Everest, many of them of people who weren't ready for what the mountain could throw at them. There are three people from Beijing who are no longer in competitive form because they dropped dead in their tracks over the past two years. Cheapening the value of the marathon distance is not only an insult to those who have trained for and completed the task, it's potentially dangerous as well. And it's going to take a couple of heart attacks in their ranks before these organizations realize just what they're asking of these people.
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