There are many reasons to run a marathon, and for most people that do it’s to get fit. We all know the fitness benefits you’ll get from it, from losing weight to building muscle to building up your cardiovascular performance.
But what about all the other benefits to running a marathon?
There’s so much more to running a marathon than just fitness, and here are a number of other reasons you should get training for one…
You can use it to do good in the world
Many people look to raise money and awareness through completing marathons and millions upon millions is raised each and every year through people taking on the challenge. You can raise money for a cause close to your heart and do some real good in the world, helping save lives, the planet or giving people the support they need to see through difficult times.
For many charities, times are hard at the moment with the rising cost of bills and money getting tight for millions of people who would usually donate, so it’s more important than ever before that you support those that you love and the causes you feel dearly about.
It gives you something to concentrate on
If you’ve had your own struggles, running a marathon gives you the opportunity to put all your focus and concentration on something. This is often a challenge taken up by people who have struggled with the likes of drugs and alcohol and gone through a drug detox and rehab to try and live a healthier and happier life.
Training for a marathon gives a daily focus and a reason to stay sober. In many cases it often provides a stepping stone to further challenges too, like an ultra marathon or triathlon.
Of course, it isn’t just sobriety either that it can take your mind off. Perhaps you’re going through a difficult time at work, or you’ve recently gone through a break-up or divorce. Grief is also an emotion many look to take time away from by lacing up their trainers and getting out into the fresh air.
You can see the world
There are marathons that you can sign up to all around the world and it’s a really great way to see the world, usually in fantastic atmospheres. Of course, you can take one on locally, but why not start an adventure by running down the Champs Elysees or through the streets of New York?
It’s a great way to see the sights in a unique way, while you can also make a holiday out of it and stay for a few days afterwards.
Just imagine it, thousands of French cheering “allez” at you as you run past the Eiffel Tower, eventually turning the corner to the home straight, seeing the Arc de Triomphe in the distance, the end in sight.
It’s a lot more picturesque than running round your local city, and what’s more it’ll make running all those miles around your local town worthwhile as you cross a rather more iconic finishing line.
You can meet new people
Many people training for a marathon sign up to running clubs and it’s a great way to meet new friends, some of whom may even take on the challenge with you. They can offer support and what’s more friendship, creating bonds that will remain for your entire life, all through putting one foot in front of the other too!
They’re brilliant for providing you with that extra bit of motivation, encouraging you to get out and run with them when you perhaps want an extra hour in bed or don’t want to go out in the rain. Friendships are great for keeping your running on track, and the experience of running a marathon is that bit more special when others are going through the trials, tribulations and thrills with you. They’re memories shared that you will look back on incredibly fondly together.
You’ll find a new hobby
While doing a marathon may begin life as a challenge. Something you want to do to take your mind off things or raise money for charity. The running bug is addictive and you may well find yourself a brand new hobby off the back of it.
Very few people who run a marathon for the first time call it quits straight after, they develop a love for running thanks to all the benefits, both physically and mentally it provides. What’s more, you won’t find a healthier hobby out there!
That doesn’t just open up going running regularly, but also will develop an interest in the many books, movies and documentaries about running, some of which are fantastic, like the Barkley Marathons and Run For Your Life.
You can inspire others
Ultimately, everyone puts their trainers on and starts running for themselves. It’s a sport that is quite selfish in that it’s you and the open road. Yourself with your mind only.
However, completing a marathon, and even just seeing the joy you get and the changes in fitness and mental wellbeing you’ll get from running can be the catalyst for others to feel inspired to do the same.
If you find a passion within running a marathon, that energy is only going to rub off on other people and you may find that friends, family and colleague follow suit. What’s more, if you set up social channels documenting your journey, you may even inspire people you don’t know.
The power of that is truly phenomenal, and at its most extreme, just by you running and documenting it, you could potentially inspire someone to make major life changes and even save them.
It’s happened many times before, and seeing a runner on Twitter or Instagram may have even been what encouraged you in the first place. Pass that baton on and make the world a better place. It just takes one foot in front of the other…