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Groups search result 26 for group:rec.running author:Terry author:R. author:McConnell

Search Result 26
From: Terry R. McConnell (
Subject: The Ultimate Challenge
Newsgroups: rec.running
View complete thread (9 articles)
Date: 2001-03-26 10:54:07 PST

All this talk of 50Ks, 30Ks, and similar heroics got me thinking.

Most runners are fascinated by extreme running events: ultramarathons, runs
across deserts or the arctic, cross-continental treks, etc. We are also
fascinated by the ultimate simplicity of running. The unaided human body
up against the rigid finality of space and time. 

John Krakauer, in his book about a recent climbing accident on Mount Everest,
"Into thin Air," mentions an intriguingly eccentric Swede named
Goran Kropp, for whom merely scaling the world's highest peak alone and without
supplemental oxygen was not a sufficient challenge. Kropp felt it 
cheating to arrive at the base of the mountain having used any "artificial"
means of transportation. Thus, beginning with the rear wheel of his bicycle 
submerged in the Baltic surf, he proceeded to bike alone across Europe, 
the middle east, and ultimately the Indian subcontinent, in order to conduct 
the entire journey to the summit "under his own power". 

Now a purist might quibble that Kropp's space-age camping gear, his gore-tex
based clothing, and his hi-tech bicycle might also be considered a form of
aid. Without intending to diminish his achievement, let me suggest that
it still leaves room for someone else to take the next step towards the
ultimate challenge in human endurance:


The competitor must emerge, naked, onto the shore of one of the Earth's oceans,
bearing with him no personal effects of any kind. Thence, through brains,
brawn, and accumulated knowledge, he must contrive to ascend to the summit
of Mt. Everest.

Absurd, you say! How could a naked man survive the frigid heights of Everest,
much less endure the humiliation of having to cross hundreds or thousands of
populated miles in the altogether to get there?  A careful reading
of the rules reveals that there is nothing wrong with space-age camping gear,
gore-tex clothing, or hi-tech bicycles, provided THE COMPETITOR BUILD THEM
HIMSELF. Therefore, I recommend that our competitor, having survived the
several years it would likely take to procure some rudimentary shelter,
a steady source of food, and the means of making fire, give some serious
thought to raising sheep. Wool clothes, though heavy and primitive, are warm
and relatively easy to make, especially in comparison to building the 
refineries needed to provide the raw materials for synthetic fibers. 

Any takers?

Terry R. McConnell   Mathematics/304B Carnegie/Syracuse, N.Y. 13244-1150    Question Authority?

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