On April 2nd, 2020, battle was declared between the two campuses of St. John’s College. The field? Treadmills, hiking trails, sidewalks, and bike paths across the United States and around the world. The goal? To be the first campus to collectively walk, run, and bike 1,861 miles–the distance between Annapolis and Santa Fe.
A name for this endeavor, “Metionannathon,” was coined by Timon Luo A20. The word Metionnannathon comes from the “St. John’s athletics” dialect of Greek, known among scholars as the most thumotic Greek dialect. The prefix Met from “μετα” for between, “ioann” from “Ἰωάννης ” meaning John, and “athon” from “athon,” the most race-like-sounding of endings. Thus a “race between Johnnies,” the Metionannathon, was born!
Santa Fe jumped out to a quick lead; by April 4th, Team Rocky Mountain had put 148 miles behind them, placing them somewhere near Wagon Mound NM, a landmark for covered wagon trains on the Santa Fe trail. Team Chesapeake, by contrast, paced themselves at the start, heading about 58 miles and landing just outside Ijamsville MD, founded by one Mr. Plummer Ijamsville in 1785.
By April 7th, enthusiasm had heated up on both (virtual) campuses, as Annapolis cut in to Santa Fe ‘s lead. That evening, Santa Fe made virtual camp in the prairies near Emporia Kansas, while Annapolis bunked down in New Lisbon Indiana, betwixt the streams of Glue Gun and Roy Run. In just a few short days, the seafarers had carried their oar 546 miles westward, while the high-desert dwellers still held their jackrabbit lead with 651 miles behind them–a gap that wouldn’t remain for long.
Sometime over the next few days, the two campuses crossed paths on the northernmost edge of the Mark Twain National Forest outside St. Louis Missouri (come for the Arch and the City Museum, stay for the toasted ravioli). They didn’t stop to chat, however. By April 10th, the Annapolitans were in Sapulpa Oklahoma on Old Route 66, and the Santa Feans had reached Stilesvile Indiana, located on an even older route: The first ever major Federal highway known simply as “The National Road.” Eight days after start, the Southwestern campus had covered 1230 miles–and the Eastern campus had covered 1231. With 630 or so miles to go, the race was anyone’s game!
As if to emphasize that point, the next few days would be a game of leapfrog as the lead changed hands day to day. When the morning of Saturday April 11th dawned, Team Old Bay had covered 1481 miles, speeding by the famous Old West frontier town of Dodge City Kansas and opening up a hundred mile lead over their Green Chile eating counterparts.
Waking up to find the East Coast crew with a significant lead, Santa Fe enacted emergency measures by serving their standard breakfast burritos “to go” instead of sit down. Buoyed by this drastic action, they made up the gap and reached Annapolis at 7:18 PM Eastern Time (5:18 Mountain Time), while Annapolis raced through the night and arrived on the Santa Fe campus a mere five hours later, at 10:17 Mountain Time (12:17 Eastern).
In the end, a race of 1,861 miles came down to a difference of a few hours! While Santa Fe took the glory this year, the two athletic directors plan to make this an annual tradition–and next year, Annapolis is sure to be hungry for redemption. And even more importantly, the Metionnathan encouraged us all to (safely!) get outside and get exercise during this crazy time, while bringing us together as campuses and a college.
Since the race finished in the middle of the night and was not immediately reported, runners, walkers, and bikers continued to turn in miles, meaning that both campuses broke the 2,000 mile mark by the time counting stopped! Here are the final numbers:
|Miles Walked||Miles Ran||Miles Biked||Total Miles|