I never want to run a marathon.
I’ve been running for a good three years now and while I’ve raced four half-marathons and one 23K trail race, I don’t have any interest in running a marathon. In my weekly run group, almost everyone is training for a marathon. When we set out on Sunday mornings, they’re running 32K while I’m running 22. They’ve packed a handful of gels into their water belts while I’ve got one for emergencies and aim to rely on public water fountains.
Throughout the past three years, I’ve been waiting for the marathon bug to bite, but it simply hasn’t. While I’m in awe of the distance and certainly love a good challenge, I just haven’t yet had any genuine interest in running 42.2K.
My running friends keep joking with me, telling me it will only be a matter of time until I’ve signed up for my first marathon. “You can’t qualify for Boston if you don’t run a marathon first,” they tease. The thing is, I don’t desire to run Boston. I watched the race this year and I tracked my friends on the Boston tracker app. Still, I wasn’t inspired to run a marathon.
As runners, many of us feel the pressure or need to continue increasing our distances until we reach the elusive marathon– when we can really call ourselves a “serious runner.” That’s how I sometimes feel, anyway. That being said, of course we can call ourselves “serious runners” without having run a marathon. I think about how I felt during my last half-marathon where I trained for months to run a big PB. At 19K, I was ready to walk. I did, briefly, to grab some water, but I picked it up again to finish the course because I knew I really wanted that 1:35 finish. There’s nothing about a marathon that I really want. At least, not yet.
Any runner who hasn’t raced a marathon has heard time and time again about the dreaded wall. At that moment, you’re reduced to nothing and you need to dig deep, visualize your goal, and remember why you’re racing in the first place. Many runners in this situation can grit their teeth, keep their eye on the prize and finish the race. If I don’t have the drive and I don’t feel inspired to run a marathon after watching the Boston Marathon or The Barkley Marathons documentary while at home on my couch, I sure as hell won’t feel like pushing through at that 32K point.
I will likely run a marathon one day, but until I understand why I want to run 42.2K, I’m happy to stick to the shorter distances.