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    meanings of promise/premise and backofthepackers

    Dear All,

    Two questions here.

    I'm reading a running/racewalking memoir by Lawrence Block. In the book, he said that in the beginning he had no intention of participating in Marathon. But then the idea entered his mind, and he noted:

    "I appreciated the fact that running would take off weight... this alone seemed reason enough to put on my shorts and shoes and get out there. Still, the phrase echoed, and began to do its subtle damage. Not the promise so much as the premise. The one word, really. Marathon."

    Question 1:
    What does "Not the promise so much as the premise" mean?

    Later on, he also wrote about the slower and less wellconditioned runners in a Marathon:

    "Many of them really looked awful, and if those backofthepackers were the only runners a person ever saw, it would be hard to convince him that the enterprise was good for you."

    Question 2:
    What are "backofthepackers"? Does it allude to backpackers?

  1. teechar's Avatar
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    Re: meanings of promise/premise and backofthepackers

    1- I suspect "the premise" is the captivating idea of running a marathon, and "the promise" is a reference to running as an effective weight loss exercise.

    2- I don't think this is an oblique reference to backpackers. I think it's just a play on the words to make them sound like "backpackers" but to actually mean the slow runners at the end of the "pack."

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