Busting the Marathon Myths

Busting the Marathon Myths!

With all the hype and hoopla, it's time to put to rest some of these crazy marathon myths. Few marathons get the press that the recent 2007 Chicago Marathon just received. For those that didn’t read the dozens of editorials out there…here are the highlights:

  • More than 45,000 runners signed up to run the marathon with approximately 35,000 showing up on race day to actually run.
  • The temperature at race time was in the upper 80s (F) and felt like 90+ F with the heat index.
  • There were over 300 people that received medical treatment for heat-related injuries (less than 1% of the runners).
  • There was one fatality of a runner in his mid thirties with a known heart condition.
  • The race directors stopped the race at the 4-hour point after many aid stations ran out of water.

Those are the facts. The talk show hosts, radio shock jocks, and other media folks had a field day and turned the race into a headliner worthy of a slow news day. Most of these editorials would lead the listeners to believe that running 26.2 miles is crazy…insane…suicidal. I mean, look at what happened to the original marathon runner - Poor Phidippides died after his 26-mile trek from Marathon to Athens. But don’t mourn Phidippides anymore than you would Humpty Dumpty...it’s all folklore, my friends!

The fact of the matter is that running a marathon is usually a culmination of many, many months (if not years) of training and preparation. And statistics of long distance runners show that the benefits of health and longevity far outweigh the negatives of a few short-term aches and pains. Hundreds of thousands of runners run marathons every year, and for many it solidifies their confidence and serves as a pinnacle achievement in attaining their fitness and weight loss goals.

It sickened me to hear so much negative commentary about the Chicago Marathon this past week, that I felt obligated to offer you the brighter side. Running a marathon has so many more positive life-altering impacts than it does negative. Few fitness achievements culminate with the kind of feeling you’ll get from completing a marathon. So to respond to all of those marathon myths from the media marathon-know-nothings last week, I offer you…

The Top 10 Things That Do It for Marathoners:

10. Having a bowl of ice cream and knowing that you’ll burn it off (& then some) with tomorrow morning’s run.

9. Running on a moonlit path and hearing nothing but your breathing as the rest of the world seems to be sleeping in.

8. A well-earned shower and a great night’s sleep after a nice long workout.

7. Going to an early morning staff meeting and knowing that you’ve already conquered the day.

6. Watching the doctor take your pulse for a third time as he finally asks, “Are you a runner?”

5. Wearing your favorite high school t-shirt (to spouse’s chagrin ;-) because it still fits.

4. Walking up the stairs without getting winded.

3. Not only being able to keep up with the kids…but actually beating them once in awhile, too ;-).

2. Getting carded at bars.

And the number one thing that does it for Marathoners:

1. The look on a co-workers face when you say, “26.2 miles” ;-).

If any of this entices you, check out the First Marathon page to see how to start your training plan and schedule. Don't believe the marathon myths...go out and prove to them and yourself that we're a stronger species than the nay-sayers give us credit for. It’s not only doable, but it may be a huge difference-maker in your life!!

You can find Marathon Myths and other motivational fitness information in the October 2007 article of The Bullhorn. You can sign up for this free monthly e-zine below.

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