There’s good rea­son as to why so many are so keen to test their lim­its

Athletics Weekly - - Marathon Guide 2018 -

THE lure of the marathon, it would ap­pear, has never been stronger. With each pass­ing year, a steadily in­creas­ing num­ber of peo­ple are will­ingly sign­ing up to take on the task of run­ning 26.2 miles.

Why some­one might want to in­flict that phys­i­cal and men­tal pres­sure upon them­selves is be­yond the com­pre­hen­sion of even more of the pop­u­la­tion but there can be no deny­ing there is some­thing par­tic­u­larly spe­cial about be­ing able to call your­self a marathon run­ner.

It’s clas­sic dis­tance, it takes the hu­man body be­yond its lim­its and it’s an event which can, frankly, get un­der your skin.

Per­haps Zola Pieterse, the for­mer 5000m world record-holder turned marathon run­ner puts it best when she says: “It’s not some­thing you just go and do…it’s some­thing that hap­pens to you.”

Ryan Hall, the fastest Amer­i­can to ever run the marathon with a per­sonal best of 2:04:58, of­fers an in­trigu­ing in­sight too into the agony and the ec­stasy of cov­er­ing 42km. It’s a recipe which is prov­ing dif­fi­cult for run­ners to re­sist.

“The whole ex­pe­ri­ence of run­ning a marathon is re­ally amaz­ing,” he says. “I’d en­cour­age ev­ery­one to ex­pe­ri­ence that once.

“I loved the part of the race where I felt good but also I re­ally love phys­i­cal chal­lenge so I loved when the marathon got re­ally hard. I told my­self when it gets harder I get stronger and I get bet­ter. When it got re­ally tough would be when I was at my best.

“I loved be­ing 23 miles into the race, hurt­ing like a champ and just dig­ging down deep, try­ing to put one foot in front of the other as fast as I could.

“Then, get­ting to the fin­ish line of a marathon is amaz­ing, too.

“It’s pretty emo­tional and I’ve had some re­ally in­cred­i­ble life-long mem­o­ries, of run­ning into the arms of my wife and just be­ing so stoked that what­ever hap­pened had just hap­pened.

“It wouldn’t nec­es­sar­ily mean

I’d won or any­thing but just the fact

I’d fin­ished a marathon, the feat of com­plet­ing 42km, is amaz­ing.”

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