|Ty Velde is a regular contributor to Boston.com's Marathon blog.|
As we get older and life gets more complex, it’s very easy to become complacent. It’s something that none of us like to admit, but life will often bring forth circumstances and situations that we all need to be accepting of and face the fact they these are our realities.
In doing so, life goes on. Yes, it certainly does not stop. However, instead of the thrill of life being captured in the moment, it’s relegated to that of past glories and achievements. We come to realize that we’ve gotten to where we are because of what we’ve done, and now it’s time to enjoy the ride. In short, as we grow older we become content.
Yet, for many, a fire still burns.
The words “content” and “complacency” are four letter words. While our current state in life may seem tame when compared to past glories, we still desire more. Yes, life is great, but we’re not satisfied. We accept the past, but view the future as the land of opportunity. We want to show ourselves and those around us what were are made of. Nowhere is better defined than in the notion of accepting the challenge of training for and then running a marathon.
In short, we’re all here, because whether we realize it or not, we still “dare to live.”
It’s about Risk
When viewed in the context of a marathon, risk is about leaving your comfort zone. Simply stated, the task of running 26.2 miles is no small undertaking. When you take into account the training, time commitments and ultimately what’s needed on race day to just cross the finish line, to many the thought running a marathon can be a daunting experience.
Yet, you’re here because you have not backed down. Rather, you understand that risk breeds reward. You’re here because to you taking a risk is not about a fear of failure; it’s about identifying opportunity and understanding “what could be” and “what you can become.”
It’s about Challenge
A marathon is much more than a race, it’s a personal challenge. It challenges you both mentally and physically. It challenges your notion of commitment and focus. It challenges your notion of time and dedication. In deciding to run a marathon, you accept challenges on many different levels that impact many different facets your life. When faced with an understanding of the many challenges that a marathon presents, for many the easy solution is to just walk away.
But this is not who you are.
Rather you’ve accepted the challenge and met it head-on. In doing this you’ve discovered a lot about who you are, what drives you and ultimately what inspires you. Whether you realize it or not, the notion of challenge has been a key driving and motivational force in getting you to the point where you’re at today. Sure, the easy route is to just back down, but is that really living? Clearly, you don’t think so, and in the challenge of a marathon, you’ve found the answer.
It’s about Perception
Running a marathon has a unique way in altering how you perceive yourself as well as how you’re perceived by others. While we all choose to run for different reasons, for many of us the marathon represents an opportunity to break the shackles of the past and demonstrate to ourselves and to others that we are someone or something else. In short running a marathon has a way of making you realize that just because you have may have been dealt a certain hand in life, it does not mean that you have fold and be accepting.
For many, running a marathon is the ultimate act in demonstrating to others that who you are, is not who they think you are. Ultimately, when it comes to notion of perception, running the marathon is as much are about crossing the finish line, as it is about transformation. For many of us the marathon represents the final step in in this process, such that you showcasing to yourself and others, that not only have you won the battle, but more importantly you have now won the war.
It’s about Goals
A key motivating factor when it comes to running a marathon is that it forces us to move and look beyond our immediate sense of self and place in life. It forces us to set both short and long-term goals and then chart a path to achieve them. Therefore, we’re here because we realize that the marathon is much more than just about running, it's about creating a sense of vision for who we are and who we want to be.
Ultimately, running a marathon is an experience that touches your life in many different ways. A marathon is more than just a 26.2 mile race, it's a voyage of self-discovery. It's about associating risk with opportunity and seeing a challenge as a source of motivation. It's about understanding the importance of defining ourselves through action and in turn, using it to mold perception. It's about being motivated by setting goals and then guided by the vision they create.
Above all, running a marathon truly has the power to change how you look at your life and perceive the world around you. But what is this so? While it's clear that the impact of the marathon experience for each of us is the sum of many parts, I also believe we're all united by a single common element.
Simply stated, in choosing to run a marathon, we've all "dared to live."
- 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