Running has always been my favourite game since I was a wee 13 year old. I did my first long distance run (7 km) when I was in Form 1 and found out that I had quite a knack for it. Fast forward to now, 14 years later, I have now completed ten full marathons, the 10th one just happened a few days ago. For the uninformed, let me tell you what the Marathon is all about.
The Marathon is special. It is the birth of long distance running as a competitive sport, in my opinion. It is unlike all other run distances in that all other shorter distances were created as a build up to the Marathon. I think that every man who have tried their feet at endurance running, should finish up the task by completing a full marathon.
It is 42.195 km long and according to ancient Greek history, this was the full distance ran non-stop by a Greek soldier from a battlefield in the town of Marathon, back to Athens carrying the message that they won the battle. It was said that he ran all the way home and shouted “We won!” before collapsing and dying before the people of Athens.
The Marathon is a test of physical and mental spirit. Ask any full marathoner and they can tell you that from KM1 all the way to KM30, life’s peachy. It is after that that sets aside the strong minded from the weak. It is when your feet are burning with every step, your legs are in agony, your skin possibly suffering from chaffing or sun burn, and any amount of water you drink does not seem to alleviate the pain. It is when the best technologies in sporting gear can no longer help you any more, and when your legs seem to want to fail you, and all you have left is the bare spirit of your mind. Your perseverance. Your determination. Your will power. “Do I want to finish a champion of the Marathon?” You will ask yourself this countless of times and the temptation to just say no and give up is greater than you can imagine.
I have done ten in total, and no matter how many times I’ve been through it, every experience is a humbling one. Pain still feels like pain after hours of running, and victory still feels like glorious victory when you cross the finish line knowing that you never gave up.
So I implore you, man or woman, boy or girl, young or old, athletic or not, to give the Marathon a chance. It will change your perception on life. It will change your life. :)