Like divorce announcements and obituaries, youll spot them in every newspaper in the country, advertised like as if its an amusement park ride that only you have never heard of. Its a Fun Run, for jeezum sake! Cmon out!!
Indeed, the Fun Run.
The Microdash. The Nanoscram. The Minisprint. The Tiny Scoot. Whatever its called, anyone with an overpronated lick of sense knows exactly what it aint, and exactly what it is: A waste of effort that will leave you breathless, unsatisfied, a little sweaty, and ultimately alone, like most first dates and family gatherings.
Yes, the Fun Run, the sneaky little time killer for people who have little enough of time as it is. (Recent reports have the the U.S. ranked 40th in the world in life expectancy, a mere 35 spots or so ahead of some of the worlds poorest countries, where life expectancy is now expressed in base 6 so it doesnt have to be reported as a negative number.)
Just as pronunciation guides are always at pains to point out that theres no zoo in zo-ology, I understand their pain and feel compelled to point out that there is no fun in Fun Run. And the rhyme just makes it worse. The first-ever (and terribly misguided) theme of Cirque du Mal de Mer (the spectacularly unsuccessful competitor to Cirque du Soleil) was Drownin n Clownin. A half-dozen men in full white make-up and wearing oversize rubber noses floating face down in a pool left initial audiences traumatized. There are still hundreds of children who will never set foot in a circus tent again.
There is nothing fun about running at all. It is simply a method of quicker foot-based locomotion invented by Early Man for two purposes and two purposes only: 1) To escape from something trying to eat you and 2) to catch something that you want to eat.
Now, I dont claim to be a scientist, an anthropologist, a paleontologist, nor a P.E. teacher, so simply ignore any small errors contained herein regarding the early history of humanity and mechanics of physical motion.
When the first Australopithecus suddenly found himself short of breath and made the decision to walk out of the primordial seathe fetid soup in which all manner of life was boiling out ofand onto what is now untouchable beachfront property, he did so at a leisurely stroll. As he slept the sleep of the just on the earliest, naturally occurring beach blanket (matted kelp), his vestigial gills dried into what we now call ears. On awakening, he suddenly realized he could hear, but he didnt feel all that comfortable with this new sense, or with what he was perceiving with it. Things he couldnt see were obviously though stealthily in motion. This First Man immediately became anxious, a little depressed, and, for the first time in human history, was suddenly worried if his parents had actually loved him or not. But, being unable to identify St. Johns Wort, and with a decade or more before the invention of psychotherapy, he had no choice but to rise up from the sand and walk away from the place of loud and frightening noise toward the place of slightly less noise, where stood thick stands of what we now call trees, but which would then have been called broccoli.
Upon entering the forest, he was immediately covered by teeth from head to toe. He felt great discomfort with this, so he turned and moved faster than anything ever had (that is, since emerging from the evolutionary stew 10 minutes before), until the last biting thing finally let go. This was the first time a two-legged human being had had to run. And believe him, it was no fun. No fun at all. He put saltwater on his wounds, which resulted in the first-ever human cry of excruciating pain scream. Not understanding the sensation, he tried to outrun the pain on the skin, but gave up in frustration after 300 feet (the origin of the hundred-yard dash). Alone in the world, he found himself breathless, bitten, and burning from the salt in his wounds. All these things he attributed the fast motion he had engaged in after his saunter into the broccoli.
Thus, not just early man, but the earliest man, had run and determined experientially that it was absolutely no fun.
Leap ahead in time hundreds of yearsbeyond the pathetic Greek soldier who ran himself to death after the battle of Marathon, and ignoring the insanity of the naked Greek Olympic Games, as well as that cultures other innovations (e.g., homes with columns, fraternity parties, stabbing people with swords, and democracy) that would prove to have no value in todays worldto modern sport, when an angry and slightly blasted Babe Ruth watched one of his own teammates run to first base after hed batted the ball, rather than moving along at a cool stroll, waving to the crowd, accepting a beer and a hot dog from an appreciative fan as he walked the base paths. But in the blink of a heavy-lidded eye, the American game was ruined, as from that moment on would every other sport in the world that already existed or would come into existence. From soccer to football, from basketball to hockey, athletes were suddenly running everywhere (quick movement became so commonplace from that point on that hockey players adopted the use of the ice skate, instead of the usual dress shoes heavily duct taped on the soles.
Could it be any more obvious that the Run vampired all the relaxing leisurely Fun from every legitimate sport, except Jarts and NASCAR.
And so I say to Moms and Pops everywhere that if you happen past a sign stapled to a telephone pole advertising a local Fun Run, that youll tear it down before your child sees it. But if youre too slow or slow-witted to accomplish that small feat, and your child points and asks,
Whuzzat? The only answer youll offer is, Be quiet and eat your ice cream. And with any luck, and if youve raised your son or daughter in the right way, he or she will do exactly that. Eat the ice creamand all subsequent ice creams on offerand never be tempted to get involved with the gateway sport of Fun Runs, which can eventually lead to them buying into 5Ks, 10Ks, minimarathons, and the soul-stealing actual marathon.
And if they must be seduced by a rhyming invitation to a local activity, let it be this: Yall Come to the Mall.
Now youre talking fun!