Thursday, September 15, 2005

The Betting Begins

I have long made a tradition out of betting bottles of wine on the outcomes of marathons. The bottles are something in the twenty dollar range and left to the discretion of the buyer, ie; the Loser.

Usually the bet is a straightforward, I bet you a bottle of wine (red, and preferably a Cabernet, if I win) that you will run your marathon in a time of X, Y or Z. Or I bet you a bottle that so and so will or won't run the marathon in their time goal.

Frankly, in most cases, nothing would make me happier than to lose a bottle of wine to someone who succeeds beyond their wildest imaginings and best expectations. Those moments are magical.

As a Pace Group Leader I try to, and hope, that I relentlessly and persistently encourage people to perform to the best of their ability. Some might even suggest I go overboard on occasion (let's be honest here - I fall out of the boat so often I wear plastic underwear). For first time marathoners, I always say that their first goal is to finish and that finishing is a monumental triumph of achievement in and of itself.

But of course almost all of my little Type A's have a time goal, secret or otherwise. I suggest to people that they have three marathon times in mind, other than finishing of course.

A best imaginable time, if all the stars, the sun, the moon and the planets align, and if all the conditions on the day of the marathon are perfect, a realistic time (usually the one we bet a bottle of wine on) and then a time they can live with. For first-timers, just finishing a freaking marathon is more than thick and rich enough. But if you are doing it - runing 26.2 miles- more than once in a lifetime, chances are you are doing it because you are pushing yourself to reach new heights, setting new limits for yourself, or trying to overcome a new and greater challenge.

Nothing whets the competitive urge like a friendly little wager. And the wagering has already started for the Okanagan and Victoria Marathons. I now have four bets. The best part? Some of them are secret! It is too delicious for words.

Like "Jimmy The Greek" of NFL days of yore, my record to date over the past three years is 19 wins out of 24 bets. I lost most of my bets by not running a 3:45 in Vancouver this Spring (I ran a 3:53). This time of course, to qualify for Boston, I must do a 3:30:59 or better. Let the betting begin!


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Damn, Vince. You don't even look like you anymore.

You still sound the same, but it's like the voice is coming from another person.

It's fucking freaky, man.

10:47:00 PM  
Anonymous June said...


Without your help in training, pushing us beyond our limits, and your wonderful sense of humour we would never have improved.

On behalf of the half marathon group - Our thanks to you for your weekly visits and your great knowledge.

2:52:00 AM  
Blogger Vince Hemingson said...


It was one of the best groups of athletes I have EVER had the pleasure of working with.

Talented, fast and soooooo good looking - and that was just John, Alan and Stu - as for the women, well, let's just say I'm glad I don't have to run with such goddess-like Amazons on a regular basis.

Not only would they run me into the ground, but I'd never get a proper heart rate monitor reading with all the flip-flopping my heart would be doing in their presense...

2:58:00 AM  
Anonymous Anthony E. said...

Vince, buddy!
I will bet you a bottle of wine that you will hit your 3:30:59... But I'll give you the wine!
Cheers, mate! Hopkinton awaits your arrival!

9:18:00 AM  

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