To many, the desire to run a marathon is a mystery. But to others, the need to run 26.2 miles is the most natural thing in the world.
Easiest Sport in the World
“It’s essentially asking the question ‘why run?’”, says Martin Smith (39) from England, who has run four half- and two full marathons.
“I have a family and a full-time job which involves a lot of travel. Running is the easiest sport to fit into a very busy lifestyle because I can do it anywhere, anytime and it’s free.
“Then once you’re into it, the desire to set yourself a meaty goal starts creeping in.”
First the Body, Then the Mind
A far-reaching ASICS survey of seven European nations recently revealed that, on the whole, “running starts with a wish to get fit and lose weight, but turns into a fun and stress-relieving pastime.”
In all 7 countries, our runners agreed that fitness is their main reason for running, with 54% confirming it to be the most important reason to start and 63% affirming it as their reason to continue.
The second most important reason to take up running is weight-loss, with 40% of surveyed runners claiming this as their motivation to start.
Pushing the Limits
Whatever the initial motivation for running, testing your limits is the main driving force behind almost all marathon runners. Even those who run for charity concede that the will to reach this achievement for themselves comes first.
Steve Ramus (35) has run for charity many times and is training for his first marathon in London. “Even when running for a good cause, it still is about seeing if you can endure mental and physical punishment. But running for charity also helps you through those times when you ‘hit the wall’, as it’s a fantastic motivator.”
Marathons as Training
So when you cross the finish line, what then? “At first you think ‘I’m never doing this again’”, says Patrick Kessler (35), a six-time marathon runner Kessler, “And then just a few minutes after, when the incredible sense of satisfaction and pride sets in, you’re already planning the next challenge.”
For some, that means going beyond marathons. Mats Söder (41) from Sweden, runs marathons not as a challenge, but as a means of training. A triathlete and Ironman competitor, he also runs ultramarathons – the longest of which was 62 miles (100km).
“I did my first Ironman in 2000 and swam for 2.3 miles, cycled 112 miles and ran 26.2 miles all in 11:59:15. But when my first baby was born, I had new family commitments and it was difficult to train. Running alone would suffice, but a classic marathon no longer felt like a challenge. That’s why I turned to ultramarathons in 2003.”
The motivation behind running a marathon may differ from person to person and is an experience like no other. To help push your running to new levels during marathon training, come shop our full selection of running gear today: