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Marathon Inferno

April 17th, 2012 apcook15


The following is a recently discovered draft of Dante Alighieri’s Divine Comedy; lost to the world for hundreds of years, it is apparently an even more extreme and terrifying version of his hellish Inferno. Dante clearly deemed this work too harsh for his audiences and, in good conscience, hid it away from civilization. It has been translated for your browsing pleasure – proceed with caution.


 I write to you now, dear reader
Of the trials and tribulations of Marathon runners
Who compete far behind the pack of leaders

They make a perilous trek over 26.2 miles
In such unbearable, sweltering heat,
It pales the sands that run alongside the Nile.

Through nine layers of hell they descend
And struggle to place foot in front of foot
Until they have reached the journey’s end.

In the first circle lie those who worshipped the ancient gods.
Their presence at a modern-day event
Struck this author as more than a little odd.












In the second circle lie hordes of shoppers
Who are blown to and fro by purchasing passions
And are stopped from stealing by the vigilant eyes of the Coppers.

In the third circle lie those prone to gluttony,
those who load up on endless amounts of carbohydrates
in amounts that shame even the likes of teenagers like me.

In the fourth ring lie the tight of purse,
Who, after they pass up on treasure troves of swag,
Are more than likely to think back and curse.









In the fifth circle we come upon the wrathful and sullen.
They are the complainers who, the moment inclimate weather reports come in,
Decide to abandon their Marathon dreams all of a sudden.

Now, dear readers, with caution do I urge you to proceed;
The following circles detail the Marathon itself
And contain truly harrowing stories indeed.

The sixth ring poses a peril to all slated to run,
Because of the 90 degree temperatures produced
Under a prematurely harsh mid-April sun.

In the seventh circle racers are forced to decide
If they wish to finish through with their ordeal,
Weighing loved ones’ protests of, “That would be suicide!!!”

Circle eight is full of unspeakable and innumerable terrors,
That only the most able and bravehearted of men
Can endure without succumbing to their inner tremors.

Luckily, I know two just such heroes......













Now, you stout-hearted reader, we come to the end,
And a terror and tragedy so unspeakable
That merely putting it to writing causes my heart to rend.

We come now at last to Heartbreak Hill,
An incline so infamous and so steep
That, even in perfect conditions, it contains certain potential to kill.

Alas, the horror, the tragedy of it all!
The impossible conditions and sweltering heat
Caused my father’s Marathon dreams to come to a crashing halt!

But, what could this possibly be, a ray of hope?
In such dire circumstances, such an event seems impossible
But I tell you, reader, to place this journey in a larger scope.

My father and I both happily retained our health,
And such a collection of memories
To outweigh any other in their wealth.









The man remains, in all regards, a mighty champion,
And I know as well as I do my own name,
That he shall someday find his hopes restored again.

So now, my dear reader, before I ramble on and on;
I leave you with this piece of wisdom and warning:

6 Responses to “Marathon Inferno”

  1. Jonathan says:

    Andrew, you are a master of wit, prose, and loyalty. Thanks for writing this masterpiece!

  2. Patrick Cook says:

    I couldn’t have done it with Andrew by side, and it was more than heartening to see the number of Holy Cross alum and students along the course cheering for ‘Sader Nation when Andrew changed his running togs over to Holy Cross swag at mile 16. ‘Saders are everywhere out there!

  3. Annie says:

    Dante would be proud!! He could not have woven a better tale had he been there himself! Brilliant. If I may:

    To my nephew so talented, bright and smart
    You wove a tale of heartbreak and pain,
    In the end, though your story touched my heart.

  4. MV John says:

    Great post, as usual, Andrew!

  5. MV John says:

    Great blog, as usual, Andrew! Keep them coming…

  6. Martha McGuane says:

    How clever, Andrew!

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