The anticipation is building as we are 11 days away from the Rite Aid Cleveland Marathon! The countdown is on, and before we know it, Cleveland will be flooded with runners, joggers, walkers, and spectators. Just thinking about it gets me pumped up. This is the moment I have been training for since the fall.
This brings me to the question that I get asked a lot – “Why do you run a marathon?” The quick answer I usually spout off is because it’s fun, to which the response is usually, “You’re crazy!” There is no denying that running 26.2 miles for fun does sound a little nuts, but for me, it is. Digging a little deeper into that question, a better response would be a marathon is fun because it challenges me and lets me know what I’m made of. I’m sure you have heard that if marathons were easy, everyone would do them. But a marathon is most certainly not easy, and that is part of the allure. I have to laugh when I talk to my dad about a long run and how tired/horrible/sore I feel after. He comments back in his concerned dad voice that maybe it’s too hard and I should just stick to half marathons. I love you and all, dad, but no way! Bring on the challenge because I fully embrace it! A marathon is something that requires months of preparation and training, which I enjoy because I like working toward a goal in the hopes of a great few hours on the race course. It also separates the weak from the strong, and I’m not necessarily talking about physical strength. Sure, you need your body to cooperate on race day, but your mind is what is going to push you those last few miles. Even though my last two Cleveland Marathons have been disasters for me physically, I can proudly say that in spite of it all, my drive to finish kept me going, even through the leg cramps, intense heat, and an insane number of bathroom breaks. I never once considered stopping at a first aid tent or pulling over to the side and packing it in. Not finishing was never an option.
I also run a marathon because there are plenty of people who cannot. I am fortunate enough to be strong and healthy, and I plan to continue running as long as physically possible. I’m sure there will be a day when I am unable to run, but today isn’t that day. This is a driving force behind me running the Columbus Marathon in October as a Children’s Champion. I plan to run in honor of the children served by the hospital who are running their own marathon in life by trying to defy the odds against their health.
I was interested in the reasons behind others tackling 26.2 miles, so I decided to ask people what inspired and motivated them. Here are some of the great responses I received. Instead of paraphrasing them, I decided it was best to let you read them as written. Enjoy, and thanks to everyone for their feedback!