Monday, May 04, 2009

There Will Always Be an England

Through a posting to an English mail list this morning, I learned of the March March March.
The March March march is a long, flat, pointless walk across the Fens from the town of March to Cambridge, a distance of about thirty miles. It takes place, of course, in March, often but not always on the last Saturday in March. It has no purpose other than to be called the March March march. It was invented by Jonathan Partington in 1979, apparently because it seemed like a good idea at the time.
Participants keep good records, though.
There have been successful March March marches in 1979, 1981, 1982, 1983, 1984, 1985, 1986, 1987, 1988, 1989, 1990, 1991, 1992, 1993, 1994, 1995, 1996, 1997, 1998, 1999, 2000, 2001, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2008 and 2009. There was an attempted March in 2002 but nobody completed it, and a March was planned in 2007 but nobody started it. The omission of 1980 is regretted but it is no longer possible to do anything about it. The March March march was on a Wednesday in 1979 and 1986 and on a Sunday in 1981 and 1989, but has otherwise always been on a Saturday. Two March March marches, in 1988 and 2005, went (intentionally) to Ely rather than Cambridge: one Marcher did this unintentionally in 1982.
Thirty years later, I can see this overtaking the Boston Marathon in popularity. Okay, maybe in a few more years. "The route has now become fairly canonical." Now that sounds like something I'd like to do.


Ted said...

I would join you on that.

Ted said...

Of course, now that I have read the home page of the March March march, I am also tempted to suggest we walk the May Manea Mania, due to it's excellent name.

Kay said...

Can I go? Both of those sound like fun, but which is the shorter walk ? I vote for that if they're equally scenic!

Sempringham said...

Ted: It sounds like an anti-marathon, but just as pointless. The more I think about it, the more I like it.

Kay: The fens are scenic if you think Nebraska is scenic. Don't get me wrong — I love the fens. But they're kind of flat and featureless. Maybe the Millers could combine it with visits to family sites in Ely and ... what's that other place? ... Semperling, or something like that.


Jonathan Partington said...

You are welcome to come along! It's not clear whether there will be a Mania this year but there is certain to be a March next year.

P.S. February 4th (my birthday) is the feast day of St Gilbert of Sempringham.

Sempringham said...

Mr. Partington,

That's no fair! You're calling our bluff.

Seriously, thanks for the kind invitation. I would love to be able to say I had been on the March March march. We have some time to think about it.

Best wishes.