Marathons, sharks and apathetic cooperation

"And the winner for best headwear of the day goes to..."

It was the call from the MC at the finish line, whose long damp day at The Great Scottish Run 2017 was brightened on a proverbial grey Glasgow, as swimming instructor and Swimming Masters founder Vivienne Masters, clad in yellow of The Beatson Cancer Charity topped with an unmistakably evoking choice of apparel in a strikingly surreal shark hat, approached the culmination of her 13.1 mile journey of raising money, awareness and many an eyebrow for cancer support.

Vivienne Masters finding success at the finish line of The Great Scottish Run and herself soon to be the subject of many popular #MondayMotivation social media posts.

There was an aura of cordiality and camaraderie along the finish line October 1st. The vast number of runners and bystanders alike involved in admirable and noble ventures of humanitarian-causes, similar to Vivienne and her shark hat, was exhibited and evident by the pronounced show of mutual harmony in Glasgow Green that day.

Finding myself designated makeshift-finish-line-photographer because...erm...well, eh..I'll definitely run next time! I was able to witness all manner of varying and contrasting moments of success and anguish from half-marathon participants, upon completion. As I waited for the Swimming Masters team and a few friends to cross the line, my interlude was extended when BBC’s Rhona McCloud undertook a spontaneous mid-half-marathon interview with Vivienne, her swimming instructor Gabor and their shark hats around mile eight. It's hard to ignore a frenzy(the collective term for sharks) of swimming instructors in such eye-catching attire, I understand, but this amateur photographer's wellies only offered so much solace when rain was heavy and phone battery life low! Nevertheless, Swimming Masters thanks Rhona and her team for the ̶o̶p̶p̶o̶r̶t̶u̶n̶i̶t̶y̶ ̶t̶o̶ ̶s̶k̶i̶v̶e̶ great interview.

Vivienne Masters and Gabor Tatai of Swimming Masters discuss swimming, running and neither being natives of the Alba - the weather.

Through this unforeseen extension I stood close enough to watch the ever-vigilant medical staff on duty await any need for aid. There was need. Nothing serious during my short tenure in view of them, but enough small moments of wobbling, collapse and exhausted aspirants to keep their shift busy. "Mr. MC of the finish line" was kept busy too - tasked with entertaining the crowd with chatter, banter and apologies to those in attendance close enough to hear the bursts of imprecation and malediction from the half-marathon participants who allowed the fatigue they faced to form an unwelcome vocal medium as they crossed the line. My friend David, father of two, being one of them - his finish line photograph being conveniently blurred.

David, father of two, “!$@%#!6?!”

Those fish out of the water, like me, unfamiliar with such positive colours shown during this successfully assembled event might find themselves a little bemused by the productivity exerted by money-raisers attempting to assist those with small, large or tragically indemnifying afflictions. With life doing such a good job of apathetic cooperation and survival's unavoidable necessity demanding such a grave strategy of abrogation, it does feel incredibly frustrating that so much can be achieved in one day for normality to then resume until the next rebuttal. Shakespeare and Gandhi had their moments, I'm sure, but Agent K etherised his lyrical omnipotence when he lay the truth in Men in Black 1997, "How could you sell a reverberating carbonizer with mutate capacity to an unlicensed

cephalopoid?!" Wait! Sorry, wrong quote. It was something inspiring about humanity working well together or something.

To broodingly sermonize,

Despite being within such an altruistic magnanimity fuelled mise en scène-like setting, with benevolent tales of success, even my most tenacious of optimistic repressions intermittently meander, too often, towards frustrated failure. A stern punch of subjugating realisation is consequence of the disheartening analysis that the success of such philanthropic stratagems contest perpetually with the anchor brought upon by the devastating forces which birth these re-active defence measures of fund raising. Those who cannot empathise with this thesis are few. As one of the many who can, perhaps this is a fitting platform for me to seek and relay spiritual learning, to you, or express a poetry of unavoidable growth but I fear, in all honesty, philosophising and romanticism is best left to fancier folk than a swimming teacher like me so instead I've decided to settle on displaying fun images and jovial repartee throughout my witterings and synonyms.

Any last words on successful marathon running? Expect sharks and expletives, I guess.

To donate to The Beatson Cancer Charity click here!