Ask anyone who has trained for and run a marathon, and you will likely get a much different answer. Why? Simply stated a marathoner is much more than a person who is able to run 26.2 miles. Yes, this is the defining feat and characteristic that enables us all to join this elite club, but to sum it all up based on one’s ability to cover a certain distance on a certain day, in my opinion is not the true definition of a marathoner.
Specifically, marathoners are much more than just runners in a race. We are the embodiment of a series of values. It is these values that ultimately define who we are, as they not only enable us to not only cover mileage on race day, but also ensure that we get to the starting line.
It all starts with a goal. We’re able to envision a distant objective that we will strive to achieve. We don’t thrive on instant gratification, but rather we thrive on the notion of accomplishment. We know what we want, but we also know what it takes to earn it. We set goals because we love to challenge ourselves and we’re not afraid to do so.
Yes, we set goals, but we also know how to achieve them. Specifically, we know how to plan. The actual race is just a single day, but the journey to get there has been months, if not years, in the making. To say that we don’t know how to plan would just be laughable! Whether it’s training, diet or sleep, to run a marathon you literally have to plan your life around it.
A marathon is not a one-night stand; it’s about getting into a committed relationship.
You can have a goal and a plan, but to accomplish it you need to stick to it. You need to be committed, because being a marathoner requires sacrifice. I’m sure that during the course of your journey to Boston there were times when you questioned what or why you were doing what you were doing, but still you persevered. Ultimately, marathoners are not afraid of commitment; rather we embrace it as a core value of our being.
At the core of it all, we have a love for running and what it brings to us both spiritually and physically. Running is not just something that occurs within your legs or your mind, but rather it comes from the heart. It's about passion. Marathoners view running as part of who we are, not just something we do. We’re always cognizant of our last run and thinking about and planning for the next one. In short, we don’t run to live, we live to run.
The beauty of the above values is that they apply to all of us.
While we're all running on Monday for different reasons and likely at different speeds, we’re still united by a shared experience. Whether we consciously realize or not, a big reason we’re here is because we have all exhibited and embodied these values.
Therefore we should all take pride in the fact that we have made it to Boston, not simply because we are runners, but because we understand what it means to be a marathoner.
- Matt Pepin, Boston.com sports editor
- Steve Silva, Boston.com senior producer, two-time Boston Marathon sub-four hour runner.
- Ty Velde is a 15-time Boston qualifier who's completed 11 consecutive Boston Marathons and 23 marathons overall. Ty is now training for his 12th Boston run and will provide training tips for those who train solo and outside, no matter what temperature it is.
- Rich 'Shifter' Horgan is a 19-time Dana-Farber Marathon Challenge team member who runs in honor of his father, who died of colon cancer. He will provide updates on local running events with a focus on the charitable organizations that provide Boston Marathon entries for their organization's fund raising purposes