Running a marathon ?lessons for life?

My first marathon

On 16th September this year on a lovely cool clear sunny morning I lined up at the start of the Sydney Marathon. It was a gorgeous spectacle under the Bridge at Milsons Point overlooking the harbour with over 3,000 runners lining up to start the 42.2km race. The half marathoners had already left and at 7.30 it would be our turn.

I started running about 4 years ago having never run previously, in fact prior to that time I hated running & really believed that the words “fun” & “run” should not appear in the same sentence! A ran a few half marathons but always excused myself from running a full M because of lack of time to train. For a variety of reasons I decided to run a full marathon. So I started training in earnest, 18 weeks of solid preparation. I followed my training program as best as I could around irregular work hours, long days & late nights.

As well as the obvious health benefits of running, it has affirmed many other things. That with determination, perseverance, preparation & planning it is amazing what can be achieved. I realize now that you can always find a reason to not do something, like going for a run, but rather than think about it, much better to do it and think about it later (as Australia’s most successful marathon runner is quoted as saying).

As I stood on the start line I was excited, nervous and a bit afraid of what lay ahead – much like approaching many of life’s challenges. But I felt very proud of what I had achieved just in making it to the start line & I knew that what ever happened in the next 3 & a half hours or so that I was as well prepared as I could be and I was ready to give it my best.

Toward the end of the race I reached the point that i knew would come. When everything hurts and your body says, that’s enough for today, time to stop. That was the time when all those things I had practiced in training came to the fore. Finally I made it to the last few hundred metres, barriers lined with cheering spectators, the Opera House forecourt. Despite my best efforts, there was no sprint to the line. I had spent every last drop of energy, I remember thinking as i crossed the line “I am never doing this again!” But, the sense of achievement was remarkable. I had given it my best & I had done it. I completed my first marathon. (I am already looking forward to my next one!).

“I run because it’s so symbolic of life. You have to drive yourself to overcome the obstacles. You might feel that you can’t. But then you find your inner strength, and realize you’re capable of so much more than you thought.”
–Arthur Blank

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