This ancient marathon's still a running gag...
I NOTE with interest that the Dublin Marathon is being held on October 28 and I was wondering if any of your readers would like to join me in a bit of fun.
Let's set up a Dublin residents' committee (actually residing in Dublin is, of course, traditionally not required for these things) and ask for the marathon to be rerouted for the following reasons:
* The participants' flaunting their fitness and stamina in the close proximity of those from 'other traditions' is clearly triumphalist;
* The celebration of the Battle of Marathon is no longer relevant to those living in modern Europe and is offensive to Persians everywhere (whether they are aware of this, or not); and
* The singing of The Athens Boys, while not planned, as far as I know, would be unacceptable, since it contains the line "We're up to our necks in Persian blood" (the singing of The Number My Father Wore should be permitted, as long as it's done with restraint).
Those not interested in my idea will be free to burn an effigy of Darius I and fly banners along the lines of "Remember 490BC" – that will only add to the fun.