Weekly Writing Challenge #16 – Marathon

Prompt – Describe a historical event and why it was important

Photo by Philip Ackermann on Pexels.com

Hard at work doing my calculation on my next invention, I almost didn’t notice my friend Harry slip inside my office. He plopped down on his usual spot on my threadbare couch.

“Hey Harry, what’s up?”

“I just had a close call. I was all set to go out on a date from one of those dating apps. I did a social media search and turns out the girl is not only a vegan, but she likes to run Marathons.”

I laughed as I couldn’t imagine Harry running anywhere unless it was for some brandy and a good cigar. Harry for his age was in good shape, but had a bit of flab.

“By the way, did I ever tell you about my Great-Grandfather, Archibald Gruen?”

Uh-oh, I bet this was another one of Harry’s fanciful tales, “Nope, but since you are going to tell me anyways, what about your great-grandfather?”

Harry stretched out on the couch, his favored position when relating a story, “Well, Archie, that’s what we call him for short was one of the founders of the modern Olympics back in 1896.”

I swiveled to my laptop and did a quick search. “Then how come there is no mention of him?”

“Seems they were in the middle of discussing about a signature event for the Olympics, and this guy named  Michel Bréal suggested a race from Marathon to Athens in honor of a guy back in 490 BC who had run to tell the king that they had won the Battle of Marathon. Archie’s co-founder, Pierre de Coubertin, thought it was a great idea.”

I leaned back in my chair, “And let me guess, your Archie didn’t think it was?”

“Well, Archie being Archie, immediately laughed and asked if they were serious. When they said they were, he brought up the fact that the guy who had originally run the distance had collapsed and died after giving his message. Archie then asked if they really wanted to do a race that runners could die at the end.”

“They argued for hours over the race. Finally Archie insisted that not only they have Morticians on stand-by but they would measure each racer for a coffin before the race started. That was the last straw for old Pierre, he stood up with eyes blazing, slammed his hands down on the desk and roared ‘GET OUT!’ at Archie.”

I looked at Harry in disbelief.

“So after that happened, they erased Archie’s name from the co-founders list and booted him off the Olympic committee. Luckily, no one died from the race and now there are millions of people running marathons. In fact, there is estimated to be one going on every day of the year. This is why I can’t get a normal date as there are way too many people that like to run.”

“Wait, what? How about the fact that she is vegan?”

“Well there is that too, but that’s a story for another day.”

Exasperated, I stood up and banged my hands on my desk, “GET OUT! I have work to do.”

Want to be part of the Weekly Writing Challenge? Using the prompt above, write your story and publish it with a link to this story. Make sure you tag it either md-wwc or #md-wwc

All stories of Harry Gruen is now linked on the Storylines page if you wish to read them all.


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