19 Feb PT281+ Ultramarathon. Respect.
Texts: Kissthemountain | Images: Thiago Diz
Respect. I try to imagine the faces of those sailors in the Boa Esperança caravel ready to enter the realms of the Cape of Good Hope whose fame was not precisely that of keeping hostages. The “Cape of Storms” annihilated anyone who dared to breach it. Respect in the eyes of the crew heading towards the unknown. Respect towards a more than likely death.
Respect. I try to imagine the pride of the children of Portugal upon receiving the news that the caravel had managed to overcome strong winds and storms and that their country, as such, had discovered a new route to the Orient. The respect the sailors had felt towards an unchartered sea was exactly what they had now earned from each of their compatriots.
Respect. The faces of those firefighters ready to battle hand-to-hand with a fire that began in Pedrógão Grande in June this year. I am sure that the huge scale of it and its devastating force provoked, in those anonymous heroes, a feeling both close to and far from fear: respect. Respect towards a murderer of forests, animals and human beings, who they would have to look straight in the eyes and know it wouldn´t even have the slightest compassion.
Respect. For those men who fought without rest to put out the flames that devastated the center of Portugal, not only felt by their compatriots, but also by the rest of the world who saw it on their televisions, saddened by the injustice of it all, and that brought tears to a strong nation accustomed to struggle.
There have been many moments in which Portugal has shown itself to be a hardworking nation, used to suffering and having to fight for survival. History is full of cases in which the Portuguese people have had to reinvent themselves time and time again. In each of these heroic acts, as in the cases of the Boa Esperança sailors or of the firemen at Pedrógão Grande, respect always goes in two directions. Firstly, felt by the heroes towards what they are going to fight against; and secondly, that which is earned from all those who observe their deeds.
In order to run a 281 kilometer race it is not only enough to have undergone a perfect physical and mental training, accompanied by an ideal nutrition plan and plenty of rest. It is just not enough. Towards a race of this distance you have to have a lot of respect. Those who do not have it, will not reach the finish line. That is for certain. And once again, respect travels in two directions. Those who have crossed the finish line, whether it be in forty-odd hours or in sixty plus, will earn it from all those who love ultra-distance races. That is also certain. Long live PT281+.
Penamacor, Vila Velha de Ródão, Idanha-a-Nova, Proença-a-Nova, Oleiros and Castelo Branco, towns of Beira Baixa, take pride in their heroes.