Running A Marathon, Wow

My wife’s niece and her partner just finished running a marathon a couple days ago. She had a little bit better time than him, but both were really good times. Of course, just finishing a marathon, regardless of the time, is amazing. In every marathon run, the last finisher, just ran a distance of 26.2 miles which is amazing.

I’ve done a lot of cool things in life, but cannot imagine running a marathon.

I have done many centuries on my bike [100 miles or more in one day] which can be challenging. The first one was actually 114 miles because I missed a turn making the last 14 miles painful. I would make a terrible trail guide. The hardest was 120 miles into a wind and rain the entire time. However, compared to running a marathon, all of these were a piece of cake.

I have biked over numerous mountain passes. The most difficult was Independence Pass and Teton Pass. Independence Pass was especially difficult because I trained in Fargo, ND which has an overall elevation gain of about three feet. But compared to running a marathon, any or all of those are child’s play. One of the reasons is when you get to the top of a mountain pass, it is literally downhill coasting all the way. There is no coasting in marathons.

I biked across the US. If someone told me my life depended on either running a marathon or biking across the US again, biking across the US would be my choice. Would not take me a second to make the decision.

I hiked the Grand Canyon. Marathon runners run GC from rim to rim. Unbelievable.

The first marathon took place in Ancient Greece when Pheidippides ran from Marathon to Athens, a distance of 26 miles to announce the Greeks had defeated the invading Persians. And then he died. The marathon is probably the only sporting event in the world where the first person to do it died.

Marathon runners often talk about the mental benefits of training for and running a marathon. I assume this is based on Skinnerian Psychology. Skinnerian Psychology is essentially a person keeps hitting his/her thumb with a hammer because it feels so good to have the pain go away. That sounds like a marathon to me. Putting one’s body in pain so when they stop it feels good to have the pain go away. Of course, that is one reason many run marathons. Doing something that most sane people would not even consider.

I know many people who have run marathons. Some have run multiple marathons. There is an allure to running a marathon. The challenge of running 26 miles at one time. Accomplishing something that very few can do. Placing mental drive above physical discomfort and often pain. Over one million people a year globally take on this challenge and run a marathon. With a world population of about eight billion, one million is not very many. Finishing a marathon is a unique and most impressive accomplishment.

For me, I believe you cannot accomplish something that you cannot visualize. And I could never visualize running a marathon. So for S and J, and all the marathon runners in the world, congratulations, running a marathon is amazing.