By Dr Kamal Jabbour, Contributing Writer
When the prophet went for a long morning run, his evil twin talked to the crowd about cheating and lying. He said:
"If you are not fast and you are not smart, then by cheating you can get ahead, and when the day comes and you get caught, then by lying and denying you can live to cheat another day."
"For the race is not always to the swiftest, and the winner does not always play fair. The cheater also partakes in the celebration and reaps the pleasures of his actions."
"The entry form is the place to start. Don't write your name, initials will suffice. Lie on your age, change your date of birth, switch your sex, omit your phone number and use a mailbox address."
"Do not despair if a race director refuses your late entry, but stand with the crowd and run for free. By wearing safety pins on the front of your shirt you can blame the crowd for ripping your bib."
"Whether you paid or not, drink to your delight at every water stop. Then spill the cups that you did not need, shout at the volunteers, show your anger and walk away."
"If a mile split is off by a few seconds, don't just run by without a word. Scream, complain and wave your fist. Insist that your voice is heard, for even if you cheat, you are entitled to accurate splits."
"The marathon is a cheater's dream. It is just a bit too far to run, so carry a token for the ride. Run fast the first few miles, then take a subway to the end. Run hard the last stretch and cross the finish line with pride."
"Out and back courses are always a delight. When the leaders come back towards you, stop and kneel to tie your shoe. Wait a few seconds, rotate on your toes, and resume running in the opposite direction."
"Know your short cuts on loop courses. Jump in the bushes, pull down your shorts, wait till they pass, get up and cut the course, then rejoin the race with a sigh of relief."
"Since cheaters come in pairs, don't work too hard when you can share. Half way into the race, meet a friend behind a bush, switch shirts with number and sweat, and let your fresh partner finish the job."
"As cheating brings so much pleasure, why not win some trophies to hold and to treasure. When a fast foreign runner comes to town, host him, help him, carry his bag and switch his number with yours."
"When you get caught, for you will, no one will care, but if an official has the nerve to confront you, act angry and deny, for you are sure that the crisis will pass away."
"If authority asks questions do not reply. Get technical, be evasive, stay general, answer with questions, mix smiles with anger, never admit, always deny, then walk away and call their bluff."
Then the prophet returned, joyful and refreshed, for he had earned his happiness through the sweat of his brow, and he had toiled in the honesty of his run. He saw the look in his brother's evil eyes, and knew that no clean water could come from a drying well.
This was not the first time that evil had cheated the people who trusted him, and it would not be the last time he would lie to them. For those who do not repent will repeat, and there is no redemption without sorrow. Angry and sad, the prophet banished evil into a little rock, and freed his people to finish the run.
Kamal Jabbour runs and writes on the hills of Pompey, New York. His RUNNING Column appears in The Post-Standard on Mondays. He maintains The Syracuse Running Page and receives email at firstname.lastname@example.org.