March 31, 2014

LOTR Ultra

Guys. There really is no other way to say this, so here it is: I'm immensely happy at having discovered Aragorn, Gimli, and Legolas are part of the proud tradition of ultramarathoners. Stage racers, what's more. While carrying weapons. And chasing orcs.

This makes me too happy, you might say, because they're fictional characters, part of a made-up world in which magic is real, and thus physical exploits aren't to be noted.

To that I say: Go fuck yourself.

Listening to the Lord of the Rings audiobooks while at work - because having read the series, oh near on 20 times in my life now isn't enough - I noted this passage, regarding the trio's orc pursuit, which takes place early in The Two Towers:
"It is now the fourth day since he was slain," answered Aragorn; "and since the evening of that day we have journeyed from the shadow of Tol Brandir."
"On foot?" cried Éomer.
"Yes, even as you see us."
Wide wonder came into Éomer's eyes. "Strider is too poor a name, son of Arathorn," he said. "Wingfoot I name you. This deed of the three friends should be sung in many a hall. Forty leagues and five you have measure ere the fourth day is ended! Hardy is the race of Elendil!"
A quick google reveals that 45 leagues is 155.355 miles. Which, if divided evenly in four parts, rounds up to 39 miles per day.

This, however, may not be terrible accurate figuring by our friendly Rider of the Mark. Karen Fonstad, author of The Atlas of Middle Earth, measures their travels at 135 miles in those four days. However, the split is as follows: 12, 51, 36, 36. The 12 on the initial day is not really counted in the traveling at all, as these miles are spent searching for tracks, clues, etc., and deciding which way to head off. It is only the latter 3 which are spent earnestly in pursuit. Were we to figure based on that, we'd have 123 miles covered in 3 days, including 51 miles in the first. (Info found here, on a rather old walking fitness website, apparently aimed primarily at middle aged women who are fans of the series: Even though I'm not quite the target demographic, I'm beyond thrilled that such a thing as this exists.)

If you're thinking I've spent too much time thinking about this, please do know that what I'm presenting here is really only a fraction of my delving, and that I'm nowhere near finished. I'll start another re-read myself in the coming weeks, and pay special attention to this section. I will try also to note the progress of the orc horde that they chase, although as everyone knows, orcs are dopers.

This slight nerd binge finished - for now - I leave you with this. It may not be true to the text, but it's truly funny.


  1. Replies
    1. It really is. I tried to talk to people at work about this, but oddly, they did not share my sentiment.