Tuesday, July 27, 2010
Mister Tristan, Marx Trains, and Ultrarunning
When I was a kid, my brother got a Marx model train set for Christmas one year. It was metal, and used the 3-rail silver O-gauge tracks. We beat the crap out of it, but that set survives to this day. While it is well used and scratched, it remains pretty much indestructible.
Unlike Lionel, which focused more on being a realistic scale model, the Marx trains focused on play value and durability.
A couple years ago I was sniffing around on e-Bay and was able to find that very set, and since then have added some additional rolling stock and engines. While I doubt I will ever become a die-hard model train enthusiast--although I would not rule anything out--I do love to bring out the Marx set and play with it with Mister Tristan (the human, not the blog).
He loves it, as do I. I have the layout on a 4 x 6 piece of plywood that I stand up against the wall when it's not being used. When it's play time, I just drop it to the basement floor, hook up the transformer, let Mister Tristan select the engine and cars, are we're in business in a matter of a couple minutes.
And I'm loving my second childhood. These Marx trains run as well today as when they were new some 50-60 years ago, and are still putting smiles on the faces of children (of all ages!).
Oh...and the connection to Ultrarunning? Marx trains are durable workhorses that can take a beating, even over decades. Plus they are just plain fun and cut across generations. Sounds a lot like desireable attributes for an Ultrarunner.
Just as I hope that Mister Tristan will love the Marx trains he will someday inherit from me, so I hope that we will also run some trails together.