Another of the Men Without Women put it succinctly: Q is but one participant in a hundred-man marathon, and he must come first to win her.
Running the distance between Athens and Marathon—26.22 miles, or about 44.2 kilometers for us metric folks here—is no laughing matter. It doesn’t help either that he has perhaps 50.3% of the entire student population racing against him as well. Also, that’s barring the lesbians and bisexual girls in the school. Let us never forget them. All-in-all, he is perhaps running a hundred-man and a hundred-woman marathon, and he must come first to win her heart. Running the path of the Greek messenger of legend, with his letter of love exclusively for her.
Granted, he is a truly upstanding young gentleman who can distinguish a fallacious statement from a valid argument, a worthy candidate of her affection, no matter which angle you look at him. A decently-toned body, hands adept around the guitar and the piano and the brush, and a winning, goofy smile that would make you crack even just a little bit.
The same Men Without Women also put it succinctly: love is less of a sprint, but more of a marathon.
Meaning, two things:
1 He must not only outrun, but also outlast everyone (but that has already been explained).
2 There will be water stops and friends along the way to offer his support to him.
Indeed, he has plenty of friends and teachers to high-five along the race. To call him the People’s Champion would be no understatement. He has the support of his entire class, the entire class to the left, the entire class to the right, the lovable and handsome HUMSS Filipino teacher, and, being Mr. Altruism and Congeniality, the blessing of his seniors in his org as well. According to the laws of physics high-fiving people should hamper your running momentum, but instead it does seem to be a source of energy for him. Which is not terrible at all. In a sport as grueling as ultra long-distance running you’ll need every yard of rope you can hang on to.
I, as a fellow runner, offer my support to him by being his training partner as well.
“Keep your head up! Stop pumping your arms sideways!” I would scream to him on my bike as he starts the umpteenth lap from the memorial park. At that point even a Korean simply walking to work could outpace him by more than ten times.
But no matter how much I jog with him or remind him of proper running form, I still remain nervous about him entering this race. This isn’t a WWE Tag-Team Championship. This is his race, and his race alone. And no matter how many people he high-fives along the way, no matter how many cups of Pocari Sweat he downs like a shot of whiskey while running, he will have to stop. His knees will start to feel like a rusted door hinge, his calves will start to ache, the center of his chest will start to burn from all that huffing and puffing, or, God forbid, he gets stitches. He will have to, whether he likes it or not, stop his momentum at some stop, and perhaps start walking.
The law of inertia, as we learned from the various beloved personalities of the Science Subject Area, states that objects at rest tend to stay at rest. Perhaps, Q, feeling a wash of relief after running non-stop for thirty minutes, would not find the will to start bending his knees again. Perhaps in his suffering under the cruel heat of nine A.M. Athens, he lapses into existential crisis and comes to a harrowing epiphany. Why did I even want to chase this girl, he might ask himself? That is my principal concern. Once he stops running, will he continue running?
Wait. Hold up. I’m receiving updates.
Hello? Yes. I see. Uh-huh. I got it. Thank you.
Let me correct the first sentence of this entire composition: Q is a but one participant in a hundred-man and a hundred-woman marathon, and he must beat the girl of his dreams at her own sport to win her heart.
Apparently, this girl he’s running after is a track varsity athlete. Haha, talk about out of league.
So he runs the route the Greek messenger of legend ran from Marathon to Athens, bearing his message of love for her. In competition with a legion of boys and a legion of lesbians and bisexual women—many of which may be more physically and mentally suited, have competed in (and succeeded) in many marathons before, and perhaps have already been in this race far before he has.
At one point he may come close to passing Atalanta. Just a few inches more. But then he realizes he still has twenty-two more kilometers to go and he is running out of energy. He can no longer keep up the incredible speed at which she is running. Reluctantly, at the command of the aching at his sides, he puts less energy into his knees. Atalanta’s braided hair swings side-to-side like the tail of a horse breezily trotting away. The golden tie at the end of her braid starts to grow smaller and smaller. Soon, one by one, the other boys and the lesbians and the bisexual women come into his field of view and quickly pass him. There is no goddess, and no set of golden apples to help him out. The ten A.M. heat of Athens evaporates the sweat on his nape.
Imagining him in this scenario brings me nothing but chills.
Though, in the defense of my man, there is one quality of his that has put all men at the top of the food chain: unbridled ambition. This same unbridled ambition has inspired men and women around the world of all ages to defy all odds and complete challenges out of their leagues. At some point, surplus food was out of humans’ leagues. Steam trains, too, were out of humans’ leagues. And so was the moon. In the past.
I hope that at that point in the race where he will inevitably stop running, I hope that he reflects upon this unbridled ambition. I hope that at that moment where he walks along the sizzling concrete on the road to Athens, he remembers that at some point, in the past, his mother too was once out of his father’s league.