42.195 kilometers or (26.22 miles) 26 miles 385 yards. That is the distance I will run on 27 October when I compete in my first marathon in Dublin.
People say that the hardest part of a marathon is getting to the Start line and I think I may agree with that. I took the decision to run the Dublin marathon last New Year’s Eve and during the last ten months I have experienced a lot of ups and downs. Trials and tribulations. Challenges and achievements. Setbacks and breakthroughs.
As the race draws closer, I find myself hoping for a good time, wondering what it will feel like and worrying about whether I have properly prepared. However, I’m sure that once I cross the Start line and take my first step all of my thoughts will turn to surviving the race and making it to the Finish line. No matter what. The race will be be extremely hard but the suffering will be optional.
The history of the marathon traces all the way back to the legend of a Greek messenger. His name and the exact story differ between sources. One story claims that Pheidippides was sent from the town of Marathon to Athens to announce that the Persians had been defeated in the Battle of Marathon. After arriving and proclaiming victory, he dropped dead. Another story claims that Pheidippides was sent as a messenger who ran from Athens to Sparta and back (240 kilometers) to ask for help during the Greco-Persian Wars.
Irregardless of the myth, the first marathon was run as part of the 1896 Olympics in Greece. A selection race wsa run prior to the Olympics and the winning time was 3 hours 18 minutes. The Olympic marathon race was run in 2 hours 58 minutes 50 seconds.
The distance was 40 kilometers and it varied by several kilometers until 1924 when it was fixed at 42.195.
More than 800 marathons are run all over the world each year. The World Record was just set on 28 September in Berlin by Haile Gebrselassie from Ethiopia in a time of 2 hours 3 minutes and 59 seconds. The next two fastest times ever recorded were by Kenyans Paul Tergat (2 hours 4 minutes 55 seconds) and Sammy Korir (2 hours 4 minutes 56 seconds) during the same race! What is even more interesting is that the previous fastest three times were all set in London this year on 13 April. The slowest marathon ever run is 4 days 2 hours 47 minutes 17 seconds by Bob Wieland. Incredibly Bob ran with his arms, after losing his legs in the Vietnam War. He averaged one mile an hour.
Twenty-seven people have run a marathon on each of the seven continents. In 2006, Sam Thompson and Dean Karnazes each ran the equivalent distances of 50 marathons in 50 consecutive days in 50 different States. Richard Worley ran a marathon every weekend for 159 weekends in a row. In 2007, Larry Macon ran 93 marathons. Horst Preisler of Germany has run more than 1150 marathons in his lifetime.
In the coming days I will be training, resting and thinking about what lies ahead. What I have to do is pretty simple – just get to the finish. No matter what happens or what difficulties I face along the way. In the words of Dwight D Eisenhower, “What matters is not necessarily the size of the dog in the fight – it’s the size of the fight in the dog.”
You can check out some of the tunes that I will be listening to during my preparation.
00:00:01 Born To Run ~ Bruce Springsteen
00:00:02 Always On The Run ~ Lenny Kravitz
00:00:03 (I’m A) Road Runner ~ Jr Walker & The All-Stars
00:00:04 Move Your Feet ~ Junior Senior
00:00:05 Marathon Runner ~ Aural Exciters
00:00:06 Runnin’ ~ Slope
00:00:07 Run On ~ Moby
00:00:08 Flash ~ Queen
00:00:09 Up The Hill And Down The Slope ~ The Loft
00:00:10 Come On Feet ~ Pete And The Pirates
00:00:11 Road Runner ~ Bo Diddley
00:00:12 Feeling Fine ~ Sharpshooters
00:00:13 The Long Run ~ The Eagles
00:00:14 King Of The Road ~ REM
00:00:15 Mr Success ~ Frank Sinatra
Keep on runnin’…