I’ve done a lot of running over the last 2 months (130 miles, to be exact). Being out on the streets that long gives you plenty of time to think… so I’ve been thinking. With one marathon under my belt and another one on the horizon, I’m wondering how much running I will be doing in the future. You see, I dabbled in running in high school… I had a decent mile, but I was never a varsity athlete. Honestly, I wouldn’t have even done my first marathon if there wasn’t any peer pressure (thanks Jeff). Jeff puts down marathons like Jimmer puts down 3’s. One after another, after another.
Why Run a Marathon?
Marathons are 26.2 miles. Why on earth would anyone want to run so far?
- Anyone can do it. A marathon is unique. Unlike your high school football team, the local theater company, and the NBA, you aren't competing with others for a spot on the team. It doesn't matter how good you are or how good others are compared to you. If you want to run a marathon, you sign up, you prepare, and then you do it.
- It is epic. Picture yourself at a starting line. You have a bib on your shirt with a number on it. The gun goes off. People are handing you cups of water as you run by. People line the roads to cheer you on. Fast forward 20 miles. You hurt all over. You have to reach down deep and find the confidence that you can go just one more mile. All you care about is the finish line. There is nothing else. For those of you who never join the army, go on a crab fishing expedition, or make it big in the entertainment industry, this will be one of the most epic experiences you ever face.
- The glory. Everyone knows that a marathon is a serious achievement. It is not easy for anybody... no matter how many they have done. There is plenty of glory to go around... even if you don't get first place. Just finishing a marathon is an experience you can talk about for the rest of your life.
A Very Long Race
So here I am, wondering if this 2nd marathon will be my last… and then I got an idea. An awful idea. I got a wonderful, awful idea. I am going to run a very long race. Races longer than a marathon are called “Ultra-marathons” or “Ultra-distance races.” It just so happens that the biggest “Ultra” in the world is in Durban, South Africa… and I’m dying for an excuse to get back to Durban.
Known as “The Ultimate Human Race,” The Comrades Ultra-Marathon is a 56 mile race, and the biggest (or most popular) such race in the world. These days, it is common for them to have between 18,000-24,000 participants. And I will be one of them. I haven’t nailed down a specific year, but it is on my wish list, and when the time is right, you will find me there.
Well first, I can’t wait to get back to Durban, and this is the perfect reason. Otherwise, It is pretty hard to justify a $2000+ plane ticket for myself. Second, its 56 miles… that’s two marathons in a row. Think about it… that’s double the epic-ness and double the glory (…and double the ibuprofen). Lastly, because I can. Just finishing such a race is a goal worth fighting for. I live for challenges like this. Whenever I catch myself thinking about it, I remember this scene from “Pursuit of Happyness.”
I can hardly wait.