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The Mind of The Marathon Man





by John Ghent

Sunday 27th April came and went and I once again realised that the mind of the marathon man is somewhat damaged, disturbed possibly. I sat in the Aylestone Social Club, surrounded by local fanciers, respected fanciers I might add, discussing the day's race. I was way behind, bottom of the sheet from 85 miles in an east windm. My first bird was doing less than 1000 yards per minute and was only having its fourth time in the basket - not the race basket I might add, the basket full stop! I had 9 out of 13, similar returns to many of my comrades... and I was over the moon! All that time on the wing. I'd wanted a tough race but didn't expect this from 85 miles, I wouldn't go as far as to say it was a dream come true but I was grinning like Cheshire cat!

For the sprint lads it was a concerning day, the winner was doing 1240ypm and the returns were "gappy" at best, but all I could think about was how many of these birds I was going to send to Falaise with the BICC the following week, 262 miles for the fifth time in the basket this year. All good fun! Every time a bird comes home from a training toss, a club race, a national race, whatever, it's a step closer to dropping that bird at 10 o'clock at a night on a dusky July evening on the 2nd or 3rd day of a true marathon event.

This patient approach is a long old haul. The temptation of weekly club racing does rear its head every so often, but after some quiet reflection the feelings descend into the depths of my soul. I suspect after years of madness, with continued concentration on the marathon events, that the pull of club racing becomes weaker and weaker. It has been said, by many a marathon man, that the feeling you get when your bird is shutting up to hit the loft after two, three, four days away, from 700 miles, cannot be replicated by anything else on this planet. I suppose that is what shapes the inner being of the marathon man. The years of hard work, patience, willpower... to finally get that one pigeon. What a thrill that must be.

The mind of the marathon man... it's a funny old thing.


Elimar - April 2014