Watching the 50K Torturethon

You would think that an Olympic event involving “walking” would be a pleasant affair.  A nice stroll through some immaculately lit and groomed park in Beiging, surrounded by mechanical fairies providing a steady supply of unicorn farts for that aromatic touch of genius.  The Chinese are crazy for detail and I thought they might take “walking” to strange and amazing new heights.

Instead, it turns out, the 50k Walk Race was in fact inspired by events in the Phillipines in 1942.  One merely has to watch the competitors as they are issued “warning” cards and “death” cards when they stop walking correctly, to understand to utter and complete seriousness of this sport.  In what can only be called the twisted psychological side of the sport, if you go too fast, you get murdered in the street (well, only disqualified in the sport version).  Walking is serious business. 

Yesterday the Chinese tortured the women with this race.   I swear on my mother’s soul I saw a woman try to make herself throw up during the race.  She thought she might feel better puking during the race.  It was raining during that race.  “Today” it is mid-70’s with 90% humidity.  The perfect weather for a death march.

So I’m sitting here watching the male version of the Torturethon and felt I’d share a few thoughts about it.  Just seeing the way their hips are swaying, their heads are bobbing, and their emaciated limbs are waving around in what can only be the throes of immense pain is much like a waking nightmare.  But I am afraid to go to sleep and see them again in my dreams….walking…always walking…walking with that look, that look of “Oh my god what have I done!” on their face. 

Or worse, I might become one of them. Cursed to race as fast as possible, BUT NOT RUN!!

They’ve just passed 25K.  The race started with 61people.  There are 4 that have a chance to win at the half-way point.  The rest get to get DQ’ed or suffer for suffering’s sake.  Truly, the Tortorethon is not for the faint of heart (nor the remotely sane).

UPDATE: I just noticed a walker (NOT runner) from Mexico try to bite off his own tounge to take his mind off the pain in his legs.  The GPM (Grimaces Per Mile) of the race is quickly heading off the charts.