A short collection of how some of my friends mustered the want-to and confidence to sign up for their first marathon. Some are named, others are anonymously awesome.
“I can do anything if I work hard enough at it … yes I can … confidence to qualify for Boston … I realized I really could do this … now I’m hooked.”
“I really just intended on just training for a half while I was deployed to Afghanistan back in 2009-2010. The weekly mileage training plan I was using was similar mileage for a full marathon, so I figured, ‘Why not go for the full … plus I can get a cool T-shirt.’ Lol. But really I think it was just proving to myself that I can do anything if I work hard enough at it!! — signed, ‘a once chubby fat guy.’” – Albert – he qualified for Boston at the Air Force Marathon and is living proof Speedy Gonzales isn’t a fictional character
“I was told I’ll need a knee replacement if I keep running. The next statement that followed was ‘so finish whatever is on your list of things to do before then.’ Wasn’t sure if a full marathon would ever be on the list but I figured if I EVER thought it might better do it now while I can. Ran my first marathon on the Great Wall of China last May. Most amazing experience ever.” – Tracy – Great Wall of China … my first thoughts (after I picked my jaw up off the floor): do they have Gu in China?! And does your Garmin work over there?! – sounds like an incredible first marathon
“I decided shortly after the Air Force Marathon started back with the 1.5 mile run. I joined a running group (Black Hills Running Club) and I could train for the half or the full. I figured if I was going to train, I might as well run the full. Of course, now I prefer the half (for the obvious reasons … easier to train for and I can finish in less than half the time).” - if you’ve got the itch, you’ve got to scratch at least once
“I honestly thought a marathon was something I’d never accomplish, but [my wife] convinced me we could do it together. We signed up for the Air Force Marathon while under the influence of endorphin ‘afterglow’ from Oklahoma City half.” – Fred - what he fails to mention is that the year they ran the OKC marathon it hailed on the runners and they still couldn’t resist the pull of the full
“As a mid-distance runner growing up I always idolized those that could run a marathon, but never thought it was for me … didn’t believe I could ever go that far! After having kids and taking some time off of running, I registered/ran a few half marathons and thought … why not?! So registered/ran the full and was happy to be able to say ‘yes I can.’ – Shelly – you’d never guess Shelly has ever had kids – running has treated her well and she’s a ball of energy on the road
“After my first 1/2 marathon over Steamboat Mountain in 2005 my brother-in-law convinced me to get in the lottery for the New York City Marathon. As luck would have it I got in on my first try so I had to commit to training. Failure was not an option. Through lots of struggle and pain I finished. Joining the Abilene Runner’s Club after that led to better training with friends and the confidence to qualify for Boston.” – Robert – I love doing my speedwork with Bob – a breeze for him that leaves me gasping like a fish out of water. Since his first marathon he has qualified for Boston five times with a recent PR of 3:22
“I had lost quite a bit of weight, and initially a 5k was on my bucket list – that seemed like an impossible feat. One thing led to another, and it wasn’t until I finished my first half that I realized I really could do this – the minute I crossed the line, I wanted to register for a full. So much of my confidence to try came from the people in this club – they kept telling me over and over that I could do it, and I finally began to believe them!” - Jean - confidence breeds in packs – having a running club to support you can be integral to happy, healthy training and give you someone(thing) to blame at mile 24 of the marathon
“Actually, beer did it for me. I was out of shape, drinking a beer with a buddy, and he said, ‘I think I’m going to run a marathon.’ I said, ‘I’ll do it with you.’ Dammit.” – inebriation can lead to drunk dialing or misfit commitment
“It was on my list of things to do before turning 30. (Because we all know it’s downhill from there Actually I didn’t get around to it until the day before I turned 31. It was a great experience, but I still thought that since I had it … checked off of my list that I wouldn’t do another one. That changed when I moved to Abilene and joined the Runner’s Club. The motivation for running marathons and half marathons was so infectious that now I’m hooked.” – running is a sport that doesn’t discriminate against age – if you can hustle that bustle across the finish line you’re welcome to it
“I was running a 5k race and waiting for my brother to finish a half-marathon. While I was waiting, I saw on older woman finish the half in pretty good time, and she was crying at the finish line out of pure joy. Then and there I thought, ‘If she can do this half, why can’t I do a full?’ I started training the next day.” – Roger – the movie Courageous and finishing a marathon; two of several reasons its OK for men to cry in public
“Some smart a___ told me I couldn’t do it. Decided he’d bet me. That was 10 marathons ago.” - this goes to show the prize is worth the pain, and that friends can be a pain in the a$$!
I had been running for about six months. I entered three 5ks and did pretty well. Someone told me, ‘You ought to try a marathon,’ I thought. ‘Why not?’ (sidenote- sometimes ignorance is an advantage). I found a training plan, resolved to faithfully follow it, and six months later ran my first marathon.” – as a side note here, he now frequents the ultra-marathon trails like a trail gazelle
I’d love to hear your story or concerns about running your first or next marathon – comment below!