Friday, April 27, 2007

James Joyce Ramble

There are some really amazing things about this little suburban town we live in.

One is the annual James Joyce Ramble. It is a 10K road race run every year through our town. And while that doesn't seem like a big deal there are several things that make it special.

The first is the costumed folks, including a set of identical twins, who read Joyce throughout the race course. I kid you not. The race's logo is "Where prose greets the road". One year my kids and I stood and listened to someone read from Ulysess in the rain while people ran by us.

Then the more important reason is every year they dedicate the race to journalists who risk their lives to seek the truth. This year the race is run:

... on behalf of Anna Politkovskaya, the Russian journalist who was shot dead in October of 2006 in the elevator of her apartment block in central Moscow. On the day of her murder, Politkovskaya had planned to file a lengthy story on torture practices believed to be used by Chechen security detachments loyal to pro-Moscow state officials.

(both photo and Politkovshaya description were taken from the Ramble web site.)

Several years ago the race was run in honor of Daniel Pearl, the Wall Street Journal reporter who was brutally murdered. I was cryptically talking about him over the boys' heads earlier this month in the local coffee shop. I wasn't cryptic enough.

"What happened to that reporter you were talking about?"

So I started in on a lengthy discussion of religious intolerance and how he was murdered in part because he was Jewish.

"But how did they kill him?"

"They did."

"But how?"

"They used a knife and hurt him so that his body didn't work any more."

There was no way in hell I was going to explain a beheading to my 6 1/2 year old boys. They are just too young.

"But HOW?"

"You know what? This is one of those times that the information is too complicated for you to understand. I have given you enough."

And he started talking about the upcoming soccer game.

So this is a pretty special road race if it can generate that type of conversation. Over a maple oatmeal scone.


Jenn in Holland said...

Yes, but are you running the race?
Me... I would be listening to the prose. I am afraid it has been some time since Mr. Joyce and I kept company together.

This really does sound like a wonderful cause and a worthy way to spend some time...

soccer mom in denial said...

Me? Run? Ha-ha!

Leah said...

I wanna' be your kid and go to cool concert and wacky road races for good causes. Do you have room at your house for a 32 year old? I am small and won't take up much room.

soccer mom in denial said...

hmmmm.... Leah that sounds like quite an offer!

cce said...

Gotta love the small surburban towns and their fitness crazy citizens. Our town does Feast or Five on Thanksgiving which is a fund raiser as well but I'm not sure for what cause as I have always chosen the feast over the five mile dash up some of the most excruciating hills in New England. Apparently Matt Damon's run it a few times. If I could be sure he'd be there next year, I'd start training now.

Ron Davison said...

That is so cool. It sort of explains Joyce a bit, too, Finnegan's Wake suddenly makes sense as the stream of consciousness of a long-distance runner suffering from low blood sugar and borderline hallucination.