Staying sharp

My son is now sporting a “13.1” sticker on his Bimmer, having successfully completed a half marathon. (Which, given the fat sack of crap he apparently was a few years ago, is doubly impressive.) I didn’t ask him what he was thinking during those hours of pavement pounding, but I suspect it wasn’t anything like this:

Stitches while running a marathon are not usually conducive to success — but they proved to be the making of David Babcock after he broke the scarf-knitting-while-running-a-marathon record.

The 41-year-old finished the Kansas City marathon in five hours, 48 minutes and 27 seconds, at the same time constructing a scarf measuring 12ft 1¾” long.

Babcock, a graphic design professor at the University of Central Missouri, eclipsed the previous Guinness world record, held by Britain’s Susie Hewer.

In other news, there is a scarf-knitting-while-running-a-marathon record.

To create his red, orange and purple scarf, Babcock used a garter stitch, 30 stitches wide, and size 15 plastic needles, as specified by Guinness World Records. To be eligible competitors must complete the marathon in under six hours.

If the next question is “Why?” here’s the answer:

It takes a lot of time to do distance running and it takes time to knit. By putting the two activities together the time passes easier for both activities. It takes his mind off of the endless miles and makes knitting an active pursuit.

Perhaps I’ll drop a hint to the kid.


  1. fillyjonk »

    1 November 2013 · 7:08 am

    I can knit while walking (while I invigilate exams), but I am not sure that knitting while running would be in the cards. (Or if running is even that wise for me, given my apparently hereditarily-bad knees).

    I’m impressed that guy didn’t tangle himself up.

  2. McGehee »

    1 November 2013 · 7:09 am

    And it’s not just the multitasking — it’s the logistics. He had to carry the yarn, and have a place to stow the scarf as it grew.

  3. Tatyana »

    1 November 2013 · 12:35 pm

    And not just logistics and smart distribution of attention: it is also a question of extra weight. 12′-long scarf is at least 2lbs of yarn – yes, it’s not much, but compared with other runners w/o the burden, he was at disadvantage.

    I can’t pass this opportunity to quote further from M.Poirot mystery, right after the sentence I stopped at when quoted earlier:

    “What was this passion that attacked women for knitting under the most unpropitious conditions? A woman did not look her best knitting; the absorption, the glassy eyes, the restless, busy fingers! One needed the agility of a wild cat, and the willpower of Napoleon to manage to knit in a crowded Tube, but women managed it! If they succeeded in obtaining a seat, out came a miserable little strip of shrimp pink and click, click went the pins!”

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