The earth splatters off their feet like chunks of dark chocolate. Their dirt-stained shoes and legs pumping, they glide into view; lungs straining against the prim white garments encasing their heaving chests, faces contorted with effort. Right at the edge of the cinder track, the milieu is startlingly bucolic. Green grass, heather and bramble adorned countryside stretches into the distance behind the dainty ladies and distinguished looking gentlemen lining the ropes. Grey clouds complete the picture, as if rendered meticulously by an artist’s brush than by nature. The runners advance languidly and loom larger, a pulsating symphony of strained muscles, limbs and torsos in cinematic slow motion. And oh, the music….
I can recall September 12, 2001 very vividly.
Sitting out on the patio at Hemingway’s, a cozy restaurant-pub in the upscale Yorkville hood of Toronto, I was having lunch. Right across the table in front of me sat Dustin Hoffman, flipping through a newspaper, nursing a drink. I had my eye on the NY Times Tootsie was reading, since the city seemed to have sold out every copy of every newspaper that morning. Out of the corner of my eye, I spotted Dustin stand up with a broad smile and start chatting with two ladies across the railing of the patio. I glanced, and it was Kathy Bates and a jaw-droppingly ravishing Marisa Tomei. Right there on the sidewalk.