Four reasons why you should run a marathon

Marathon starting line stoke: It's real, man. (Kirk Wells/Route 66 marathon photo)

Marathon starting line stoke: It’s real, man. (Kirk Wells/Route 66 Marathon photo)

So the fall race season has come to an end, and a whole slew of people finished their journey to 26.2, as in crossing that finish line for their first marathon. When you hear this news, you are one of three types of people: You appreciate having more member of the marathon tribe, as you’ve been there and done that; you shake your head, as there ain’t no way you’d do that; or you are curious about trying it out.

This post is all about those second two types. I’ll try to change your mind, or in the case of the curious, I’ll give you the nudge you need to sign up for that next big race.

Here are four reasons why you should run a marathon:

The challenge. When it comes to feats of physical prowess, there aren’t a lot of tests out there more serious and difficult than gearing up for your first marathon. It takes a few months minimum to train up for one, and the level of commitment to run all those miles for weeks on end is big. And so is the race. Can you do it? Do you have what it takes? Only one way to find out!

The fitness benefits. By the time I’d wrapped up marathon training, I was leaner and faster than I’d ever been (my fastest 5K, 10K, 15K and half marathon times all came within my first marathon training season). My cardiovascular strength was through the roof. If you can stay healthy, eat right and push on through training, you very well could end up in the best shape of your life.

The mental benefits. This is two-fold. First, long distance running has a meditative quality that is great for clearing your mind and emptying stress from everyday life. Second, by the time you get to where you’re running 20 miles on your weekly long runs, you’re going to have a sky-high level of mental toughness. Build that up and there’s no telling what you’ll be able to do.

Is it possible to feel this good as you cross the marathon finish line? Only one way to find out. (Chris Barnes/Route 66 Marathon photo)

Is it possible to feel this good as you cross the marathon finish line? Only one way to find out. (Chris Barnes/Route 66 Marathon photo)

The bragging rights. Unless you hang out with a pack of marathoners, there is a very good chance that only a rare few of your friends or family members will able to say they’ve done what you’ve done. Whether you finish 26.2 in three hours or six, crossing that finish line is a rare act of willpower. After your first, you might even amaze yourself with what you’ve done. Feeling the crowd support, crossing that finish and collecting that medal will feel pretty sweet. Once a marathoner, always a marathoner. No one can take that away.

So are you feeling the stoke? Find a good training program. Look for a goal race. Sign up.

Bob Doucette

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