Passage from '50 Marathons in 50 Days', by Dean Karnazes:
Crossing a marathon finish line for the first time is a life changing moment. In
doing it, you prove something to yourself that can never be taken away. You walk
away with hard, experiential evidence that you are strong, resilient, and gutsy.
26.2 miles is just a long way to go no matter who you are. Anytime you're able
to take on and overcome a challenge of such proportions, you come away with
benefits in the form of confidence, self-respect, and fearlessness that never
Even if the process of training for a marathon were not extremely health
promoting, I would still encourage everyone to run at least one marathon
because of its' powerful effects on the mind and spirit. After all, don't we
spend enough of our lives doubting ourselves, thinking we're not good
enough, not strong enough, not made of the right stuff? The marathon gives
you the opportunity to tackle those doubts head on.
So you train hard, you dedicate yourself, you sacrifice, you overcome countless smaller challenges along the way, but you know the marathon will ask for even more. In the recesses of your mind, a gloomy voice is saying, "You can't!". You do your best to ignore the self doubt, but the voice doesn't go away. On the morning of your first marathon, the voice of doubt multiples, becoming a full chorus. By mile 20 this chorus is screaming so loudly it's all you can hear. Your sore and weary muscles beg you to stop, you MUST stop. but you don't stop. This time you ignore the the voice of doubt, you tune out the naysayers who said you're not good enough and you tune into the passion in your heart.
Courage comes in many forms. Today you discover the courage to keep trying, to
not give up. At the 25 mile mark your vision falters, and your mind teeters on
the edge of consciousness, and then suddenly finish line looms before you like a
dream. A lump builds in your throat as you as you cover those final few steps.
Now you're finally able to answer back to the nagging voice with a resounding,
"Oh, YES I CAN!".
You burst across the finish line filled with pride; forever liberated from
the prison of self doubt. You have learned more about yourself in the past 26.2
miles than you have ever learned about yourself in any other single day in your
entire life. Even if you can't walk afterward, you have never been so free. A
marathon finish is more than just something you earn, a marathon finisher is
someone you become. As you are being helped away from the finish line wrapped in
a flimsy nylar blanket, bearly able to raise your head, you are at peace. No
future struggle, doubts or failure can wipe away what you accomplished today.
You have done what few will ever do, what you never thought you could do, and it
is the most glorious, unforgetabble awakening. You are a marathoner, and you
will wear this distinction not on your lapel, but in your heart for the rest of