It is said that Pheidippides was the first marathon runner. That he ran from a battlefield in the town of Marathon to Athens to announce a battle victory. That he then collapsed and died. That this all happened in the BC times. That now people like myself run marathons, 26.2 miles, because of this. That is all quite strange.
I ran my first and second marathons in 2019. One was a big city race, the other a little city race. I loved them. A third, in 2020, was supposed to take place on my 40th birthday. It was a wonderful plan I had until COVID cancelled the race. Being the way things were in that time, I decided to stick with my training and run it myself. And a new tradition was born.
It is now 2023. I have run a total of eight marathons. Four have been solo. The solo marathons have turned into something I do each year around my birthday, to mark the passage of time and celebrate my health and well-being. As the years advance, I am finding that my health is becoming the bigger birthday deal than presents or parties or Chuck E. Cheese. However much I do continue to love Skee-ball, cake, and a jumbo mechanized rat.
Running a solo marathon is a completely different experience. At first they were harder than organized races, because there weren’t people or situations around to keep me pumped up. But then they became easier. There is something incredibly addictive about lacking excuses or external factors, and having to rely on one’s two feet.
When I run I am free. The bullshit generally falls away: in my brain, on the screens. I am not doing the screens. I am just moving.
It makes me proud that my daughter sees me doing this. That she is learning by example that hard work has a place, and after a period of time, it can become fun and relaxing. I’m going to keep doing this each year for as long as my body lets me.