The Goddess Atalanta...

I was browsing thru a recent issue of Running Magazine, some not-too-exciting article about running skirt fads and "fashionable" female runners throughout history.  Interestingly, there was a short little blurb about an uber independent Greek goddess named Atalanta.  Did I sleep thru chapters/lectures about her in college? 

Atalanta came up with a witty plan that would stop her from having to marry a suitor she wasn't crazy about. The story goes.....she was born to a greek god who was so disspointed that she was not a boy that he sent her out to the woods to die as a baby. But she was taken in by all the wildlife....the bears, the mountain lions, the elk, etc. -- who taught her to be independent and strong and fast and smart.  Eighteen or so odd years later when her father realized this amazing creature was his daughter, he tried to reconcile and take her back into his kingdom. He also wanted to marry her off to carry on his legacy.  

But she had other plans.  What she wanted was an uber-able and athletic mate as well as a strong hunter.   So, she announced that she would race the suitors; the one who would beat her in the foot race would be the lucky man to marry her.  And she would even handicap herself by giving him a head start and by running while she was weighted down by her heavy sword.   

A fast guy, a strong hunter....good goals!

Her little strategy/stipulation sure did beat the ho-hum cliche' courtships of dinner and a movie, blah. 

The rest of the story.... 
Atalanta had a weakness for apples. And so one of the suitors, Hippomenes, was savvy enough to think that he could slow her down by tossing out a few golden apples along the trail to distract her enough so that he could keep up. His little ploy worked and he was able to beat her to the finish line.  Then, according to the legend, after they were hitched, Zeus turned both Atalanta and Hippomenes into lions....not sure why....something about not giving due honor, but geeeez maybe being lions wasn't the worst thing to happen to 'em.  

Be fast. 
Be strong. 
And don't get tricked by apples.