Over the last eight-plus years, Iíve run 15 marathons at six different venues, including New York, Chicago, Marine Corps in Washington, Philadelphia, Baltimore, and of course, Boston. One question I consistently get asked by people is this: Which marathon is the most challenging?
While each race I have run has its own set of unique challenges, I have always consistently answered ďBoston." However, my reasoning behind this answer is not always what people expect, as it extends beyond race day and The Hills of Newton. (Donít get me wrong, they are a killer.)
It's actually tied to training.
As anyone whoís ever ran a marathon knows, while Race Day is what you are working toward, itís only part of the equation. What makes running a marathon so challenging is the training and time commitment associated with making sure you are ready for race day and the 26.2-mile grind. And because the race falls in April, those of us here in New England are forced to train in the darkest depths of winter.
Running in 10-degree weather is tough. So is running in snow or sleet. How about those days when it rains during the day and then freezes overnight? I love a fresh snowfall as much as the next guy, but running through 12-18 inches of powder . . . not too much fun. But for those of use here in New England itís something weíre forced to deal with.
But when it's race day and Iím staring down Heartbreak Hill, when I think of what Iíve endured to get to this point, suddenly it does not seem so intimidating. For New Englanders, Boston is true test of will and commitment in so many different ways. To me that is what makes the race so rewarding.