It is a race born of legend. For the past hundred and fourteen years it has been the ultimate goal for millions of runners. People have died trying to run this race. It is a grueling 26.2 miles of nothing but you and the road.
This race requires months of training. It takes mental dedication many would deem superhuman. The marathon is the penultimate race, the highest goal for almost every serious runner, including me.
To date, I’ve run five half-marathons and a handful of 5K and 10K races. I have tried to run two or three marathons, but each time I’ve stopped during my training because of time constraints or exhaustion – and because when you are trying something as difficult as a marathon, it is hard to push yourself when no one is pushing you.
Then, last December, ACU put together a group to run the White Rock marathon or half-marathon. As usual, I chose to run the half. As usual, I was only partially pleased with myself when I finished.
Half marathon, half satisfaction, I suppose.
Only this time, something felt different. For the first time, I wasn’t running alone. Friends and strangers from ACU were on the sidelines cheering for anyone wearing purple. Several of my friends ran alongside me, and for most of them, it was their first experience with a long-distance race. My friend, Houston, informed me after the race that we were going to step up our game next year and run the full marathon.
I told him no way. No way would I ever want to run that far. I told him he was crazy.
Months went by, and he didn’t bring it up. I hoped he had forgotten.
Then a few weeks ago I got a text message from him saying that he and a few others had just signed up for the full marathon. Before me was a challenge, and far be it from me to back down from any competition. I bit the bullet and signed up for the most physically demanding thing I will probably ever do.
There are now five or six of us who are training together. We will prepare for 18 weeks and run over 400 miles – all for the final 26.2 that count.
I have never been strong enough to do this on my own, but that’s life right? They say it takes a village to raise a child. I may be mostly grown up, but the saying still holds true – I know it will take a village of support if I’m going to finish this race.