Saturday, December 13, 2008

Hualien, Taroko, and the International Marathon Part 2

We awoke in the dark when somebody's alarm went off and got ourselves ready to run: breakfast, ablutions, and dressing the part. John and Andrea managed to find Mister in the house somewhere (after waking other persons unknown) and he was soon driving us to the marathon collection area. A constant stream of ordinary people who had become recognisably marathonesque for the occasion were being shipped in large buses from the collection point to the marathon site inside Taroko National Park. We joined the stream and were soon whisked away in the swiftly flowing stream and were spat out at the other end amidst the looming dark of the mountains in the very infancy of the new day. Posing for a photo while waiting in a queue for a bus at the collection point. John and Andrea, excited to have finally arrived at the place and day of the marathon, anticipating the big event and wondering where the starting line is. At this point we still weren't quite sure where the race was supposed to start from as there were two of these large inflatable arches installed on different roads. We would discover later that one was the origin of the half and full marathons while the other was the origin of the fun run. The one in this picture turned out to be where Andrea and John would be starting their race shortly. Removed slightly from the Taroko Visitor Centre and anything else, a bank of portable toilets had been set up on the side of the road against a backdrop of scenic grandeur. It was one of the nicest queues for a toilet that we've ever been a part of, as you'll see in the next photo. A very nice place to use the toilet; I guess that's why Andrea went twice. John asked somebody for information about where and when the race was supposed to start and so he and Andrea were there when the starting gun was fired and the mass of Adidas/Nike/New Balance/Saucony/Asics-clad humanity thronged through the inflatable archway at a walking pace. Those who tried to run found themselves running at the same pace as others next to them who were walking. You don't really run at the start of a big marathon: you move forward at a pace that mitigates against being trampled. Not long after leaving, the mass of Adidas/Nike/New Balance/Saucony/Asics-clad humanity were returning from wherever they had been, albeit now running and not so much a throng as a long narrow stream. [to be continued]

1 comment:

Meg said...

Hi! I work in the photo department at a national U.S. running magazine, and am interested in considering photos I saw posted on your blog for editorial use. Please email me at meg.hess@rodale.com if you would be willing to pass along your photos for possible inclusion in the magazine. Thanks!