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by Dale Connelly, 10/6/00

Dc: This is DCR, it's not the news. The Twin Cities Marathon will host a wide variety of runners, old, young, able-bodied, those in wheelchairs... a great diversity. But as far as we know, there is only one person running the marathon for the same reason the marathon was first run in ancient Greece. And that runner is Alex Gasper, who is out running at this moment, training, and he joins me now by cell phone. Mr. Gasper, what will set you apart from the crowd?

(sfx: phone, with running feet and breathing to depict running)

Gasper: Not much. I expect to be right in the thick of things at first, anyway.

Dc: But fundamentally... as far as a mission is concerned, you'll be doing something special, that really takes the marathon back to it's roots in Greece in 480 BC.

Gasper : Yes, I will be carrying a message from my mother, who will whisper it to me at the beginning of the race. And I will deliver the message to my sister, who will be waiting at the finish.

Dc: And what will that message be?

Gasper : I don't know yet.

Dc: Something other than "the Greeks have defeated the Persians at Marathon?"

Gasper : Yes, it will be something other than that. I had to promise my sister it would be worth waiting around for... and she already knows about the Greeks and the Persians.

Dc: But you have no idea what it will be?

Gasper : That's totally up to mom. We did a test a few weeks ago where I ran the twelve miles between my mother's condo to my sister's to deliver a message.

Dc: That's just a bit less than half the marathon distance.

Gasper : I know.

Dc: And what was the message then?

Gasper : The message was: "Roberta told Tim to get out of the house and when he went he took the TV and the stereo and all the food in the refrigerator and didn't leave anything for her, that dog, he deserves to rot in Hades for the way he's treated her and this just shows that he never deserved her in the first place but why it took so long for her to wise up is beyond me because...

Dc: I get the idea. It was a lengthy message.

Gasper: Yes, and she wanted to be sure I'd get the intonation right.

Dc: How long a message did it turn out to be?

Gasper : I don't remember. I blacked out in mid sentence, round about the part where she was ranting about him and that truck he drives.

Dc: Too bad.

Gasper: My sister thought I had died, just like that first marathon runner in Ancient Greece, but no. I didn't. I asked mom to keep it shorter this time.

Dc: Good idea. But something more than "Hi."

Gasper : Oh yeah. Like I say, there has to be something for my sister to stick around for.

Dc: And you think this should be part of every marathon?

Gasper: Yes I do. Every runner should have a message to carry. And they should be graded on how well they deliver it. Can they be understood? Is it RIGHT? If they blow it, that should cost them points, or minutes, cause getting the wrong information in a hurry is a lot worse than having to wait for news that's accurate.

Dc: So it would add a skill... other than running.

Gasper: (breathless) Memorization and communication.

Dc: So it's less athletic.

Gasper: (more breathless) Well... being able to breathe... is still an important part of it.

Dc: Some things never change. Right?

Gasper: (totally out of breath) What?

Dc: Marathoner Alex Gasper. He'll be carrying an important message from start to finish in the Twin Cities Marathon.


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