Disclaimer: This column will only make sense if you are a runner or an LOTR fan. If you are neither, I suggest you flip the page and check the Sports Briefs section (Spoiler Alert: The Chicago Cubs will be at Wrigley Field to sign autographs for their fan.)
As children of a librarian, my kids were blessed/cursed with my edict that we would watch no movie until we read the book first. (Except Les Misérables, the Greek yogurt of literature — critically acclaimed, yet too dense for most palates.)
At least once a year, my family and I revisit Middle Earth via the film adaptations of J.R.R. Tolkien’s Lord of The Rings Trilogy. After 13 years, I can shamelessly recite the script in its entirety. And as a runner, I find direct correlations between the sport and the story. See if you can identify yourself in these iconic characters.
Aragorn (“For Rohan! For Gondor! For Frodo!”) — You’re a tough warrior, ready to take on the most daunting courses and run for charity causes. Inexplicably, you are much sexier as a sweaty hot mess than a coiffed king. (Seriously, that coronation ‘doo? No.)
Legolas (“A red sun rises. Blood has been spilled this night.”) — Also known as Captain Obvious, you put the running in commentary. You keep workout partners informed of the climate (“It’s raining!”), course conditions (“This pavement’s hard!”) and bodily functions (“I’m sweaty!”) On the plus side, you elves never get lost on trail runs.
Gimli (“We dwarves are natural sprinters.”) — Sure, you’re slow. Your body may not be built for running, but you have a good heart and you never give up. Still, you find something to complain about every quarter mile and most of us tune you out.
Gandolf (“You shall not pass!”) — You’re in the Masters Division, but that means nothing because you are still the most intimidating runner on the course. Others intuitively clear a path for you. Water station volunteers vie for your attention. Crowds adore you. Keep your shirt on, though.
Arwen (“If you want him, come and claim him!”) — Elf with attitude. You can break away from a pack of Black Riders and the Witch-King himself, yet never produce a bead of sweat or muss your hair. Your workout wardrobe makes a fashion statement, too. Other she-elves secretly hate you.
Eowyn (“I am no man!”) — Gutsy and determined, you are the consummate athlete. No hill is too steep, no trail is too rocky. You handily keep pace with the big boys. In fact, you don’t even bother checking the gender division results. Score one for the shieldmaidens.
Boromir (“One does not simply walk into Mordor.”) — If you are Boromir, you’re running with shin splints, plantar fasciitis, Achilles tendonitis, iliotibial band syndrome and an arrow sticking out of your chest. You refuse to quit, even when your injuries are serious. You might want to talk to a counselor about your Daddy issues.
Merry (“That, my friend, is a pint.”) and Pippin (“They come in pints? I’m getting one!”) — Be honest: It’s not about the run, it’s about the afterparty, isn’t it? You’ll wade through mud, get coated in neon paint, don a tutu, anything, as long as there’s a wild finish-line celebration. Party on, Shirefolk.
Frodo (“I cannot do this alone.”) — You’re strong and focused, but you need a running partner, someone who will keep up the chatter, offer encouragement and occasionally slay a few orcs on the trail. Choose carefully. Some partners have hidden agendas. And split personalities.
Gollum (“My precious!”) — Forget other runners, you have one thing in mind when it comes to a race: Swag. You want it all — every tech shirt, granola bar, gel pack, carabiner, flashlight and glow-in-the-dark zombie stress ball (yeah, I got one of those). You won’t share them, either. Because they’re yours. All yours. Your precious.
Sam (“We’re going all the way there and back again.”) — You’re the trusted friend and training partner every runner needs. You know when to offer encouragement and when to chill. And you know how to fight off giant spiders. You can run with me anytime.
Greece native Teresa Benoit Keyes loves quiet, spider-free runs through the Bloomfield hills. She can be reached via Facebook.