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Friday, January 15, 2010

Concert February 4th

Virgil Thomson: A Portrait In Song
Mary Thorne, Soprano
Elizabeth Hastings, Piano

Thursday, February 4th, 2010
1 pm
Concerts At One
Trinity Wall Street Church
(Broadway at Wall Street)

I am singing a wonderful program of art songs reflecting the musical life of composer Virgil Thomson. Songs by Bowles, Cage, Citkowitz, Copland, Hundley, Rorem, Satie, Wheeler, and Virgil Thomson.

If you work downtown this will make a wonderful lunch break or if you can't get away from the office you can listen to it on webcast. No tickets necessary, a donation can be made at the door.

Friday, January 1, 2010

How the Marathon became 26.2 miles

Ever wondered why the marathon distance is 26.2 miles (or 42.195 kms)?

Originally the marathon distance was around 25 miles (or 40kms).

But for the 1908 London Olympics, it ended up being 26.2 miles.
Here's a brief summary I found on wikipedia:

For the official Trial Marathon on 25 April 1908, the start was on ‘The Long Walk’ – a magnificent avenue leading up to Windsor Castle. For the Olympic Marathon itself the start was on the private East Terrace of Windsor Castle, with the permission of King Edward VII, so that the public would not interfere with the start. Shortly before the Games opened it was realized that the Royal Entrance could not be used as the marathon entrance—it was raised to permit easy descent by the royal party from their carriages, and did not open onto the track—so an alternative entrance was chosen, diagonally opposite the Royal Box. A special path was made just outside the Franco British Exhibition ground so that the distance to the stadium remained 26 miles.

The finishing line was left unchanged, but in order that the spectators, including Queen Alexandra, could have the best view of the final yards, the direction of running was changed to "right-hand inside" (i.e. clockwise) and the total distance became 26 miles 385 yards (42.195 km).

Why the history lesson?

Gabby and I recently went to Windsor, and of course, as a runner (and especially for Gabby as a marathon finisher), it wouldn't be complete without a visit to the Long Walk. For those of you who run marathons, as you run past the 26 mile marker and curse as you run another 0.2 miles, you now know it was all so that the royal family could get the best view.