4 years is a long run, honestly

October 21, 2004|by ANDY MASON

Because I've been up to my ears in fall sports recently, I haven't had much time to pay attention to politics and the upcoming presidential election.

If I'm not writing a sports story at work, I'm editing one. If I'm not at work or sleeping, I'm either watching a game on TV or out pounding the pavement in my running shoes, training for a November marathon.

Sports has become my world.

I also recognize this as one of my shortcomings, because I tend to get tunnel vision. Seeing beyond the scoreboard is often difficult for me.


However, I still have to vote for a president. What shall I do?

I'll start by comparing sports stories, things to which I can relate.

George W. Bush ran the 1993 Houston Marathon in 3 hours, 44 minutes, 52 seconds, averaging roughly 8:30 per mile for the 26.2-mile distance. That's an official result. Ask Bush his marathon time, and he, like most runners who have trained for and persevered through such an event, probably will give it to you to the second.

I've run eight marathons, and each is a memory forever etched in my brain. Not only can I tell you my exact finishing time for each of my marathons, I can rattle off many of the splits along the way - and even what I ate for dinner the night before the race.

John Kerry can even one-up Bush. He ran the Boston Marathon, the country's most prestigious road race.

Or something like that.

"I ran a marathon back in '80, something like that," Kerry recently told ESPN. "Did the Boston Marathon."

But unfortunately for us sports fans, Kerry said he doesn't remember his time. But it must have been a good one. For a 36-year-old man, as Kerry was in 1980, the qualifying time just to run the Boston Marathon that year was 2 hours, 50 minutes. That's some very serious, and you'd think very memorable, running.

But since Kerry has too much on his mind these days to remember a silly marathon, we should just be able to look up his time for him in the official results from that year - if he were listed in them. He's not.

Maybe Kerry is just confusing his years. Runner's World magazine, in its current issue, reports that Kerry ran the Boston Marathon sometime in the 1970s. But no official record exists of that, either.

What in the world of Rosie Ruiz is going on?

I realize a presidential candidate should be judged on more than just his marathoning legitimacy, but four years in office is a long run.

However, I still don't know whom I'll vote for. I mean, if the relay baton ever had to be handed off, vice-presidential nominee John Edwards does have an official 3:30:18 from the 1983 Marine Corps Marathon under his belt.

Andy Mason is assistant sports editor of The Morning Herald. His column appears every other Thursday. He can be reached at 301-733-5131, ext. 2334, or by e-mail at

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