Beat the Blerch


I am officially fascinated and counting down until March 24 9:00 a.m. PDT.

Just about a year ago, I read The Oatmeal’s running comic. It’s the six-parter where illustrator Matthew Inman reveals his path from a non-runner to an ultra-marathoner. I never knew. I also didn’t take a huge liking to The Blerch. Calling it a “cherub” is overly kind. The Oatmeal is definitely not my kind of humour 50% of the time. I talked to my cousin Alan who it turns out likes The Oatmeal.

My cousin Alan turns 40 in mid-September and has on his bucket list to complete a full marathon. Being the love-and-hate-it runner I am, I want to be part of this momentous, uh, moment in my cousin’s life. Up until today, I thought we might just do the 2nd Annual Surrey International World Music Marathon. Yippee. It’s the fall marathon created to give Vancouverites a local fall marathon (the spring one is in May) – that’s the way I see it. For Alan and me, who have uncertainty in our lives, we wouldn’t have to plan to stay overnight anywhere like we would for Victoria, Kelowna or Portland, the other fall marathon options.

Then, after several months of radio silence, The Oatmeal author Matthew Inman published several posts today. He wrote a Blerch book! It will be published on September 30 but you can pre-order it already on Amazon. It is titled, “The Terrible and Wonderful Reasons Why I Run Long Distances”. That is totally the book title I had in mind if I were to write a book about running!

But the first post I read from Feedly was his post about the/his Beat the Blerch 10/Half/Full Marathon. At first, I thought it was just another comic. But the webpage has all of the information of a road race. He’s organizing a race, to promote his book! That’s the coolest promotion ever!

The race highlights are great! Matthew Inman will be in attendance and signing copies of his new book – which isn’t even generally published for nine days after the race. The tech shirt and medal are sure to be unique – but quality will depend on his sponsors. Birthday cake, Nutella and “magical grape beverages” will be at every aid station. I might not partake but what a sight that would be! There might be Blerches in fat-suits chasing you. You won’t be charged for your photos. And a goody bag!

Gosh, this feels like an April Fool’s joke but it’s too early.

The race is just in Washington State, in Carnation, 35 minutes from Seattle. That raises a question of staying overnight somewhere (like Bellevue). But it’s a comic Alan likes. It’s very close to (and after) his actual birthday, although that is not a huge concern. It’s terribly unique. As a book promotion, there is no way to guarantee it will occur in a following year.

Yup, I’m excited.

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On this day..