A marathon runner gestures as he approaches the finish line near Grote Markt.
Some time after noon yesterday, I walked to central Antwerp only to stumble upon runners finishing the last few meters of the 2010 DVV Antwerp Marathon. I can't say if these guys were the initial batch of finishers or the residual batch of "also-rans" but I can tell you for sure, despite the #1 finger gesture, our subject finished a remote distance away from first. Knowing the starting time of 9:30am, and doing a bit of quick math, the winner would have crossed the finish line some time just before noon and, inevitably, he would've been of African descent (as this photo corroborates).
As a one time - and only one time - marathon runner, I personally know the pain he just endured. As a result, it wouldn't be out of the realm of possibility if that's a gesture of thanks to the Almighty for allowing him to cross the finish line at all.
A female runner nears the marathon's finish line.
As you would expect from Belgians, the crowd was exceedingly energetic and supportive at this point. Each runner received an ovation for completing a challenging 42km (26.2 miles) course, at times over ankle-pounding cobblestone roads. It's a good feeling to have people call out your number and cheer you on when your legs are numb with the effects lactic acid, nearing the end of 4+ hours of self-inflicted torture.