TO TELL THE TRUTH
200 marathons in 1 year? "No way." That was the response I got most of last year when people asked me about what I was doing. It was so unbelievable in fact, that the producers of the revival version of the 9th most popular game show ever, To Tell the Truth, tracked me down and invited me to be a guest on the show. What a hoot.
I was flown out to Burbank, California; chauffeured to the Hilton hotel; where I spent Saturday afternoon rehearsing, and Sunday doing the taping of a segment that is scheduled to "air" later this spring.
My hand-picked "imposters" and I didn't do a very good job of fooling the panelists and the audience though. 3 of the 4 panelists, and the audience correctly identified me as America's Marathon Man, so I didn't win much money, but my wife and I and my buddies/imposters, had a lot of fun.
The imposters were coached to "always agree with each other," no matter what either one gave as an answer. So when one of them was asked; "What did Frank Shorter do?" he answered; "He was a miler".
The other imposter knew better, but he agreed; "He's a miler."
Normally the same question is not asked of all 3 contestants, but in this case, I too was then asked; "What did Frank Shorter do?"
Having signed an affidavit that I would tell the truth, I responded; "Frank Shorter won the 1972 Olympic marathon." Too much information.
This of course was not the only question we were asked, but as we rehashed our performance over dinner later that evening, we decided that it was this particular answer that kind of gave me away.
I was just trying to impress them with my knowledge, and realized too late that saying something like; "He's a runner," or "He's a marathoner," would have still fulfilled my obligation to tell the truth, but wouldn't have made me look like I had first hand knowledge of everything in Who's Who in the marathoning world……which is what would be expected of America's Marathon Man.
(One rather ironic factoid here, is that of the 5 or 6 marathon runners in the world that the general populace might actually know by name, this panelist picked Frank Shorter…..who, by some scheduling quirk, just happened to be at my wedding back in 1995……Elaine and I were married at the 9 mile mark of the 1995 DisneyWorld Marathon, and actually had our picture taken with Frank Shorter and his daughter, after the race, back at the Grand Floridian Hotel.) Anyway, even though we didn't fool the celebrity panel, or the audience, it is one of those experiences that will forever be a fond memory, and it happened because I run marathons.
This story serves as a perfect segue into a brief description of what I plan to do in my column here at MarathonGuide.com…..and that is to entertain you with anecdotal stories taken from my 26 years on the roads and trails of the world. I've been a lot of places, and seen a lot of sights in the 40,000-plus miles that I have run in my lifetime, and I want to share my "adventures."
I also intend to draw parallels between running and everyday life. Ever since I became a marathon runner, I've been impressed by how the "marathon experience" is so much like "real life". And if we just pay attention and absorb what's going on around us, we will be amazed at what we can learn from the simple act of running.
So stayed tuned…it's gonna be fun. And if you like what you see here at MarathonGuide.com, the site that is created BY runners, FOR runners, tell your friends to drop in and check us out.
America's Marathon Man