As I’m sure people will be bored of hearing, I ran the London Marathon last weekend. It was the third time for me, and I’m now the proud owner of three London Marathon finisher medals and T-shirts!
And naturally I have been interested in watching all the footage and reading all the press coverage this week, as people talk and write about ‘the hottest London Marathon on record’, ‘water running out’ and ‘people collapsing in the heat’.
One comment I saw on social media was something along the lines of, if 40,000 people can complete the London Marathon, surely it’s not such an amazing accomplishment? Well actually it is, and here’s why:
- A marathon is 26.2 miles long. That is a LONG way.
- The majority of people that you know will not have run a marathon.
- Anyone who hasn’t run a marathon will say things like ‘I can’t even run for the bus!’, and ‘I don’t know how you do it’, and you will probably think like this before you decide to do one.
- To RUN a marathon you have to train. And even then, the majority of people won’t run for the entire time. There will be a bit of walking.
- To train well for a marathon takes about six months of dedicated, painful, exhausting training runs, about three times a week.
- You will lose toe nails and you will get blisters and chafing while training and probably on race day too.
- You will want to give up while training, and you will want someone to come and take you home mid-race on the big day.
- Carb loading isn’t as much fun as it sounds. Carbs need to be good carbs and not the yummy chippy fatty carbs!
- While you’re running you will do lots of maths in your head to work out speeds and mileage.
- When you cross the marathon finish line for the first time, it will be one of the most amazing feelings ever!
- You have never have stairs trouble, the way you do the day after a marathon.
- You will have actual pre-marathon nightmares, in which you will turn up late, forget your running shoes, or be in the wrong place.
- You will never in your life see such long queues for porta-loos!
- You will always defend your marathon time by adding things like ‘It’s not as fast as I wanted it to be’, ‘I had to walk a bit as my knee/foot/leg felt like it was broken’ and ‘Next time I will try to do it faster’.
- People will ask you politely how the marathon training is going, and you will reply in great length, even though you know they’re probably not really that interested!
- You will know how many miles it is to many places within a radius of your front door.
- Six miles/10km will become a short run for you.
- When you’re running a marathon you may understand why Paula Radcliffe did what she did on the side of the road instead of stopping. When you’ve got to go you’ve got to go #runnerstrots!
- You will never experience anything quite like the crowds, camaraderie, noise and emotions of running a marathon.
- Running a marathon will either make you or break you as a marathon runner. You will either want to sign up for another one pretty much straight away or you will say NEVER AGAIN!
Running a marathon is running a marathon, the full 26.2 miles, whether you’re running with 39,999 other people or on your own, no matter how long it takes you. The achievement is real. And so is the pain!