Ink Marathon – The long Way to a Tattoo

5 hours and 20 minutes. This is the time I would need to run a marathon. 5 hours and 20 minutes. That’s how long it took to get my new tattoo into the skin. An ink marathon…

Dark Exercises Fitness Skull

The Marathon

The legends say that a Greek messenger ran the 40 km long way from Marathon to Athens to announce “We have won”. It refers to the victory of the Athenians over the Persian King Darius I in the Battle of Marathon in 490 BC.

Many centuries later, in 1896 A.D., the Olympic Games took place in Athens, a PR gag was needed. Thus the idea arose to revive the run of the messenger as a competition. The marathon was born.

Dark Exercises Fitness Skull

The Tattoo

Much older is the history of tattooing. Various tattoos were discovered on mummified bodies from Egypt, which are said to date from between 3351 and 3017 BC. The Mummies of Gebelein, as the two are called, are not only the oldest tattooed at present, but had been also very trendy. He had two horned animals on his upper arm. Probably a big bull and a mighty mane sheep. The lady, on the other hand, liked it geometrically and had lines and s-shaped signs on her shoulder and back. 

Tattooing goes back over many eras. For example, the glacier mummy Ötzi was discovered with 61 tattoos. Ötzi also liked geometric figures, lines and dots.

The Scythians, a folk of horsemen of the Russian steppe, had especially elaborate and large tattoos. Early Christian sects had crosses stitched, as so did the crusaders.

The body of the Danish-English king Harald II, who had been severely dismembered at the Battle of Hastings in 1066, could only be recognized by the tattooed name of his lover Eadgyth. All in all tattoos were very common on the island. So both the Celts and the Picts were inked. The Picts even had their name from their custom to tattoo themselves. 

At the beginning of the modern age tattooing seemed to be assigned more to sailors, prostitutes and inmates.

Popular Sport

It was not until the 1990s that the triumphal march of tattoos began again. A triumphal march, which continues to this day: According to a recent study, every fifth German is tattooed.

The marathon has also become a popular sport. At least running itself. Starting in the 1970s, running established itself in Germany with activities such as “trim yourself” or “run without panting” as part of the general fitness trend.

Dark Exercises Fitness Skull

Marathon and Tattoos – the Parallels

Coincidentally, my two times – that of running and that of being inked – are the same. But there are other parallels, too.

According to the rules of the IAAF, the International Association of Athletics Federations, the umbrella organization of the national sports federations for athletics, water and refreshments must be offered at the marathon route. I was also offered water and refreshments during my ink marathon. 

Denisa from the studio “Tattoo Sisters” in Karlsruhe was the one who tattooed me.

Graffiti Tattoo Sisters
“Tattoo Sisters”

The name tells it, the studio is run by two sisters. There is also the mother – who is responsible for the permanent make-up – and the father. The father has among other things the important role to supply the “athletes” with water and refreshments. And he did that wonderfully! Thanks for that!

I was especially lucky to get to know the pacemaker. Pacemakers are participants in marathons who are used independently of their own competition success to ensure a certain racing speed. Their job is also to distract the runner from his torments. And so Mano, the uncle of the two sisters, distracted me for a while. Thanks again for taking the pictures!

Denisa - One of the tattoo sisters
Denisa – One of the “Tattoo Sisters”

For 5 hours and 20 minutes you need Jack Daniels

Five hours and 20 minutes is quite a long time. I calculated the data using a projection scale from Jack Daniels. The scale was recommended to me during my training as a cardio trainer at the German Sports Academy.

Jack Daniels, a former pentathlon athlete, sports professor and long-distance running coach, invented the Daniels` Running Formula. A running formula that can be used to extrapolate a 5 kilometres run based on personal data and running time to a realistic marathon result.

With my calculated time, I would just be in the limit. Usually after 5 hours and 30 minutes the broom wagon comes and sweeps the lame ducks off the track. It looks as if I would have to train a little more if I would want to run a marathon…

Marathon training
…the long way to a marathon…

I don’t have to train for getting inked. But I have to admit that I could have used a drinkable Jack Daniel’s in the last 20 minutes of the 5 hours 20. Though alcohol is not only forbidden during a marathon run, but also 24 hours before the tattoo date and of course during getting a tattoo.

Dark Exercises Fitness Skull

My Conclusion 

An ink marathon – anytime again! Because with the inking it is like with the phrase on my newly tattooed arm “the beginning is the end is the beginning…”.

ink marathon tattoo
…alku on loppu on alku…

Again, many thanks to the whole team of “Tattoo Sisters”. Especially for the patience of the sisters to tattoo the countless skulls…

A real marathon – no way! I really enjoy running. Maybe I will run 5 hours and 20 minutes or the marathon distance of 42,195 kilometers someday. But in no case I do run an organized marathon. Because another rule says that electronic equipment is forbidden. Which means – no music. And without Heavy Metal in my ears I certainly won’t run a step!

And if you also like to get inked and/ or run and/ or listen to metal music – Stay tuned!

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