Canadian Running - - DEPARTMENTS - Dave Car­pen­ter, Manag­ing Ed­i­tor @Cana­di­anRun­ning

Like a many of you who’ve picked up this is­sue, I de­cided to run my first marathon nine years ago be­cause I wanted a new chal­lenge and to get in shape. With hubris as my trusty guide I de­cided that, not only was I go­ing to run a marathon, I’d qual­ify for the Bos­ton Marathon. Hubris. Def init ion: e xces­sive pr ide or self-conf idence. My train­ing plan went well through that sum­mer, lead­ing up to my cho­sen race in the fall, the GoodLife Fit­ness Toronto Marathon. I’d fallen in with some of the faster, more sea­soned run­ners in my train­ing group and suc­cess­fully com­pleted each weekly train­ing plan. I was on course for the time I needed to qual­ify for Bos­ton. Sure, peo­ple talked about this thing called The Wall, but how bad could it re­ally be for such a gifted ath­lete as my­self ?

One of the most hum­bling ex­pe­ri­ences of my life, as it turned out. Fool­ishly, I didn’t re­ally re­spect what every­one said would come in the last quar­ter of the race. The first 30k or so felt great, with vi­sions of ‘Right on Here­ford, Left on Boyl­ston,’ danc­ing in my head. Then the re­al­ity of what the vets in my train­ing group kept telling me, and I only half-lis­tened to, struck fast and hard.

Within 5k I was re­duced to a grind­ing walk-shuff le, with well-mean­ing spec­ta­tors tak­ing what seemed like pity on me with shouts of “Good for you, you can do this!” Do this? I thought I would crush this! Af­ter a month of nurs­ing my bruised ego – and a wife sick of hear­ing about it – I still felt I had un­fin­ished busi­ness to take care of, so I de­cided to take an­other shot at the marathon. But this time, I came in to my train­ing with a height­ened re­spect for the process of pre­par­ing to suc­cess­fully run 42.2 kilo­me­tres.

And even though that next marathon still kicked me in my arse, I stuck to the train­ing process by com­mit­ting to the mileage, do­ing strength train­ing and lis­ten­ing to the vets a lit­tle more closely over post-run cof­fees. Three marathons later, I fi­nally went right on Here­ford, left on Boyl­ston.

I’d found my edge, and we hope you do too, whether that’s find­ing the best fit for your feet in our an­nual fall run­ning shoe guide (p.62), or with healthy foods to go the dis­tance (p.24), or per­haps through the in­spir­ing sto­ries of those who have crossed the fin­ish line de­spite in­cred­i­ble odds, such as Jen Stronge, she suc­cess­fully pulled a loaded sled 611 kilo­me­tres to the Arc­tic Cir­cle and be­came the first Cana­dian woman to com­plete the Arc­tic Ul­tra (p.38). Then there’s Lanni Marchant, who used her con­sid­er­able edge in be­com­ing a lawyer and one of our coun­try’s great­est dis­tance run­ners ever (p.52). There’s also Tony Machado, who took the edge he found through run­ning marathons and paid it for­ward by in­spir­ing oth­ers to make it through the in­fa­mous Wall (p.6).

Whether your “edge” means mak­ing it across the fin­ish line, or all the way to Bos­ton next spring, we hope this is­sue helps you f ind it .

Dave Car­pen­ter at the Bos­ton Marathon in 2017

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