My first evening in Greece I went out to run. It seems that taxi drivers and car owners there are insane, especially at night. How badly they drive!
At every moment you are at their mercy, even in the park. I don’t know how, but they manage to drive right into the park itself. There is no street or anything; far from it. But they drive right into the park, and so speedily. Then they leave their cars there while they go to a party or some place. And we are trying to run there!
Inside the park an old Japanese man — very short, very skinny — started following me as I was running. I thought I was shorter than the shortest, but he was practically at my shoulder. And he was very old.
With such affection, such affection, he started running with me. Then we started talking. He told me all about his running experiences. I was very happy.
He was about 70 years old and he said he had come all the way from Japan for the marathon.
He was staying at the same hotel that I was. There were quite a few Japanese staying there. They all had come to run.
The following day also we ran together. I always make complaints about my strides, but his strides were shorter than mine. I ran two miles with him, very slowly.
I saw him once more after the marathon. He took seven hours and fifteen or twenty minutes. He was so delighted that he had completed it. Who would not be proud of him!
RB 93. 7 October 1979↩