“Why do you run marathons?”

I was standing in Starbucks yesterday morning when a coworker asked me in all seriousness: “Why do you run marathons? Why put yourself through that instead of just running half marathons or shorter distances?”

I was actually speechless for a minute because I haven’t been asked that question in a long time and I realized I had quite the answer. She honestly wanted to know, so I told her. And of course I consultated by squad group text to see what they had to say and we all had similar answers. So, I thought I’d share with you all. 

This is why I run marathons:

  • The marathon demands respect.

My favorite thing about the marathon distance is that you can’t fake your training. You have to put in work if you want to cross that finish line feeling good. You can’t just run once or twice a week and hope for the best. If you want to have a strong race for 26.2 miles then you have to put in weeks and weeks of hard work and lots of miles. But the great thing? If you respect the marathon distance, it respects you. 

  • Early peaceful training mornings.

Few things beat peaceful morning runs along the lake. When my 5:30 AM alarm goes off I don’t always want to lace up and go, but once I’m out there breathing in the fresh air and watching the sunrise I’m happy. These morning runs add up and make the marathon seem more attainable with each one. It’s “me time” that lets me focus on improvement and my goals. I miss them when I’m not training. It really is my favorite way to start the day. 

  • Not everyone can.

I don’t take my health for granted. I train to improve my fitness and do something great with my health. Not everyone has this option. I run for those who can’t. I run for those who used to be able to, but no longer can. I run for those who wish they could commit to the training. I truly run to get more out of my life and I know so many people can’t run marathons and some day I might not be able to either, but that time is not now and I will continue to improve and love the distance for as long as I can. 

  • The running community.

I have always loved the running community. Starting a running Instagram did so much for my daily motivation and the sense of not feeling along in my marathon journey. Fleet Feet Racing Team brought me friends to do speed workouts with and this winter the Boston 365 group brought me friends to do long runs with. These girls get me more than most people in my life. We know we’re all a little crazy, but we get the crazy. We push each other. We motivate each other. And we have so much fun while working so hard. I loved every single early morning with these women and our race weekend was a blast. It’s amazing to find a group of people that understand and support you. I am so incredibly grateful for the friendships this past training cycle brought me. 

  • The finish line feeling.

The finish line of a marathon is unlike any other distance. Yes I do love half marathons and testing my speed at 5Ks, but the finish line just isn’t the same for me. Having just run for hours and hours and putting 18 weeks of hard work to the test culminates with a finish line and the emotions I feel there are so real. The elation. The surprise. The happiness. Conquering 26.2 miles never gets any easier, but that finish line feeling is never any less amazing. 

I know I will continue to love running no matter what distances I run, but the marathon distance is my true love. I love to work toward improving my marathon time. I want to get to Boston. I enjoy all the miles along the way. I am a marathoner because it helps me get the most out of my days and I will continue to run them for as long as I can. Nothing beats that feeling of accomplishment. 

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