Found on RunnersWorld.com and written by Dane Rauschenberg
Dane Rauschenberg made his mark on the running world as the man who ran 52 marathons in 52 consecutive weekends. He contacted Zelle after we published the piece on why *not* to run a marathon. Here is his response.
There are many great pieces of writing out there explaining why someone is choosing not to do something. If the writer uses the piece to go into detail as to why what they are abstaining from is either unhealthy or doesn’t add zest to their life, I feel those are wonderful articles. But simply being negative for the sake of negativity is an easy attention-grabber and shows a complete lack of creativity or knowledge on the subject.
Having run 52 Marathons in 52 weekends back in 2006, I often am thought to be the biggest proponent of running 26.2 miles. In reality, I would have to say the 13.1 mile race (I despise the name “half marathon”) is probably my favorite distance. Don’t get me wrong; I love the marathon. I just don’t think they are necessarily for everyone.
However, I can think of many reasons why one should indeed take on a marathon (or two or 52.) When asked to give my 52 reasons for running a marathon, I found that many of the reasons were synonymous with running itself. Any distance. Any time. So, I dug deeper and tried to find marathon-specific reasons to take on the challenge. I might have gone into some grey areas at time so bear with me.
1. Exuberance – The marathon is mythical. While you can get an amazing high from tackling any race distance, conquering the mother of all races gives you a high which is hard to duplicate.
2. Inspire others – Doesn’t matter if you are speeding to a PR, crawling to the finish, or anything in between, someone on the sidelines is going to start running soon because of seeing you pushing through this distance.
3. Self-confidence – That whole conquering the beast thing above? Yeah, with that slayed, daily tasks will seem simple by comparison. If you could bottle the self-confidence you have after finishing a marathon and sell it, you’d be a billionaire.
4. Be a superhero – Ever seen those Heatsheets blankets you get when you are done? Go ahead and try not to feel like Superman when they put those around your neck.
5. Travel – We always find excuses not to spend money to see the world. But throw in a marathon and you have given yourself a reason to check out small pockets you never would have allowed yourself to go to before.
6. Learn the most of an area – Once you are on the course, even if it is in a small town in the middle of nowhere, there is no better way to learn an area than on foot. Seeing 26.2 miles of it without worrying about turn signals is the best way possible.
7. Make new friends – As we get older, the places and chances to meet new people become less and less. On a marathon course, you don’t have to think of small talk or a way to break the ice. You know you are both going through this together.
8. Catered exercise – One of the hardest things about staying in shape is we find excuses not to do it. The body likes being efficient (aka “lazy”.) But here you are, with people handing you drinks and towels and food just to go for a long run. How is that not a blast?
9. Nice quads.
10. Nice calves.
11. Nice buttocks.
12. Nice abs.
13. Amazing people – Just like you inspire, you will be inspired. Someone on the course is going to blow you away with what they are battling.
14. Camaraderie – Run 26.2 miles with someone and you just made yourself a new best friend. That’s some deep existential sharing.
15. Medals – Not a darn thing wrong with liking a little bauble to remind you of your accomplishment.
16. Butterflies – Getting older means there are less “firsts.” No graduations, no first cars, or first houses. Fewer things to make us feel all bubbly in our tummies. But try standing at the starting line of a 26.2 mile run and not be excited. I get chills writing this.
17. Streets are yours – They close down the streets like a freaking parade. For you! You are royalty!
18. Winning – A miniscule amount of us will ever win a marathon. But you can’t win one unless you run one.
19. For you – You often hear about how people do things to show those who said they couldn’t how wrong they are. That’s misguided. Do it for you. Those people will never be impressed no matter what you do. If you want power and true satisfaction, stop caring about the naysayers.
20. Better understanding of calories – No, you can’t eat whatever you want. You will actually be shocked how few calories exercise burns and how much are in what we eat. A marathon puts that frappuccino into perspective. Do you really want that extra helping when you know it will take 10 miles to burn it off?
21. Running behind Nice Quads;
22. Nice Calves;
23. Nice buttocks for 26.2 miles.
24. Enliven Your Taste Buds- You had no idea a bagel could taste so good;
25. Or a banana.
26. Because you can – Think about how many people would love the option of running a marathon. You have that option. Do not take it for granted.
27-52. These last 26 are for the 26 miles of the marathon. You should run a marathon because mile-by-mile you will bring yourself that much closer to becoming invincible. Pain, chafing, sweat, tears, and blood will all just be memories as mile after mile you move closer to being unbreakable.
Forget what I said about the halfmarathon. I just convinced myself to run another 26.2 miles.