I've completed three marathons now- Chicago, Nashville, & Honolulu, but it wasn't until finishing the last one that I would actually consider myself a "marathoner". The first one was a trial, just to see if I could do it. The second was to prove that the first wasn't a fluke. The third confirmed my status-I am a marathoner.
Of course, I'm pretty sure anybody could do at least one, granted the average person may not finish quite as fast as I did (yeah that's a challenge), but the first one is not about time-it's about getting from start to finish. In fact, if your reading this, I think you should pick a race and start training. Chalk it up as a life accomplishment, or a good reason to get in shape, or bragging rights. Seriously, it will be worth it, when's the last time you ran through a finish line with hundreds or even thousands of people watching and cheering for you? Or how long has it been since you've felt the feeling of accomplishing something you weren't totally sure you could finish? It's nice...really nice!
Maybe you need some inspiration. Well, I can tell you why I got into it. I've talked about my life goals list (running with the bulls and such); completing a marathon wasn't on the list outright. I considered it more like a wildcard entry, or a TBD. Mostly, Beth wanted to do one, so we signed up together and started training for the Chicago Marathon. Honestly, I was more than a little tentative, but Beth, she was dead set. Chicago is a running city, people are running all the time, there are designated running routes, and really good running stores-it was a great place to train.
On October 10, 2004 we and 40,000 other people lined up and waited for the gun to fire. The atmosphere was unique and filled with adrenaline. It's feels good to stand with thousands of other people who are all there sharing the same goal as you have. The race itself was awesome, Beth and I started out together and ran the first few miles together, and then we started running our own race. Every mile or two there was a band playing, and spectators where just about everywhere cheering you on. Word was that 1 million people came to watch the race. Beth and I had our very own personal fan-Beth's dad came to watch us all the way from Canton, Ohio. I think it's kind of poor taste to talk about your time if you aren't asked-but what do I care. I finished with a time of 3:52:56, and Beth came in strong, smiling, and crying with pride at 5:14. Not a bad morning. If your wondering about the winner's time, it was a rediculous 2:10 or so.
I may have got into running at the suggestion of my wife, but the more I ran the more inspiration I found to keep running. Team Hoyt is a big one. You really oughta check these guys out. If you need a real life analogy of what Christ does for us daily this is it. (www.teamhoyt.com) And the girl in the picture is Sarah Reinertsen, and this is her after she finished running a marahthon. Did I mention that she also bicycled over 100 miles, and swam 2 miles. All of this in one race. That's right she is an IRONMAN. (www.iamsarah.org)
There are other reasons I run, but the main reason I run is because I am able.