The pith hat chronicles: Prologue

Two contrasting ideas.

[From Blackaddar II, ep. 3 (Potato)

Sir Walter: Ah, only numerically speaking. We sailors do not count the sea around the Cape of Good Hope. It is called the Sea of Certain Death, and no sailor has crossed it alive.

Edmund: [butts in] Well, well, well, what an extraordinary coincidence.

Queen: What’s an extraordinary coincidence? [not caring]

Edmund: Oh, it’s just I was planning a jaunt around the Cape of Good Hope, myself. I’m leaving a week on Thursday, I think.[Queen: “Really?”] Yes, and now that, erm – Sorry, I’ve forgotten your name- has returned and the whole court smells of fish, I’ve half a mind to set off this afternoon.

Sir Walter: If you attempt that journey, you’ve no mind at all.

Edmund: Or perhaps a mind that knows no fear.

Queen: Is that true, Edmund? Do you know no fear?

Edmund: Well, yes, I do rather laugh in the face of fear, tweak the nose of terror.

Queen: Gosh, Edmund, I’d forgotten how dishy you are.

[Quote from mountaineer George Herbert Leigh Mallory]

“Because its there”

To be honest, I thought it was Edmund Hillary who uttered “because its there” and was quite excited about the contrasting Edmunds but alas, it was Mallory.

My Facebook feed is filled with ‘Barkley’ race reports (the year the mountain won) and articles about ultrarunning, which included this very interesting write up from the Guardian (UK) about the phenomenal rise in the popularity of ultrarunning.
Whether you are a dyed in the wool ultrarunner, new to the distance, or the long-suffering spouse of either of the previously listed – it’s worth a read.

At the heart of the article is the debate whether social media has ruined the discipline by giving it exposure to bragging rights.
While some believe (the purists) that the title of ultrarunner should still be restricted to a select group, others argue that the exposure is a good thing and it shows the breadth of humanities capacity to push itself beyond comfortable and to sit on a spike in the region of ‘this is fucking hard what am I doing’ and maybe eat a raw turnip (thingy shaped is optional).

What is later suggested, and is philosophical outlook I share, is the curse of a western’s lifestyle is that one can live very comfortably without too much effort.
The world is very small and the days where one could strap on a pith hat, some beige shorts and a shirt and go find the land that time forgot in deepest darkest Africa are long long gone.

The new adventure is exploring our inner space.
As we cannot shrink ourselves down to the size of an atom and explore the human body from the inside, we have to get there through existential experiences and the type of life affirming emotional reflection which one can only get after running for over six hours.

So sure, I guess I have a little bit of Edmund (Bladder!) and Hillary in me – after all, I’m a blogger, I HAVE to believe what I have to say is interesting otherwise what’s the point.
So I trade my pith hat for a buff, beanie or baseball cap, the beige attire has gone quite colourful, sometimes neon, I still need to carry a pack with essential supplies but these days it is likely to be Cliff bars and electrolytes instead of a pickaxe, revolver and a can of spam.

The Geelong Half is this week – the Blackaddar equivilant of doing laps around the Isle of Wight until we get dizzy.

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