Sunday, 5 August 2012

Go Gladys!

This is Gladys Tejeda, who was born to a family of subsistence farmers, two and a half miles above sea level in the Andes of Peru. Today she completed the Olympic Marathon.

Gladys Tejeda with the Museum of London in the background

She finished in 43rd place, in a personal best time of 2:32:07, nine minutes behind the winner and totally unnoticed by the cameras. I was standing at 33.7km when I took this picture. I wanted to know what would happen to her when I saw her carrying the flag in the opening ceremony.

The crowd all around me cheered every single runner. If they couldn't pronounce her name and didn't know the name of her country, they just shouted "Go Oooonn!! Keep Goinnnng!". And quite a lot of them, including me, stayed to cheer on the runner in 107th and last place, making as much noise for her as we could. The men in the clear-up van applauded us right back.


Mark Word said...

What a wonderful post! I love last-place runners. I am right behind them all the way (literally and figuratively). I have finished 14 marathons. Upon starting my second marathon in Vienna, Austria, I "discovered" my motto for life: "If I compete against others, I will rarely win. If I compete against myself, I win every time." Especially in dance there is no competition with others. It is all about being present within myself and with my partner. Go Gladys! You bring tears to my eyes and I am very inspired by you.

TwoToTango said...

WOW, great and lovely idea!
Those are the real olympic participants, not the hyped stars.

msHedgehog said...

Glad you liked it. She is very young (early twenties), and this is only about her third marathon; so she might do much better in future. Women tend to get faster at the marathon in their thirties. Nine minutes put her a lot closer to the front than the back.

But I agree with your point about dancing. It is much more effective to focus on making one improvement at a time to your own dance than to pay attention to other people's, unless for inspiration.