Steamtown Marathon Diary: Why the Marathon?

One of the most important questions to ask yourself when deciding to do a marathon, or really any race for that matter, is why. It might seem obvious, but it’s something that can be easily overlooked. Deciding exactly what your personal reasons for racing are and training in line with those reasons could be the difference between success and failure.

Obviously, there’s a big difference between people who want to do races just to finish them, or to run with a spouse or a child, or even just to have fun, and the competitive runners looking to set a new personal best time or best a long-time running rival. There could be other reasons, as well. Maybe you just want to contribute money to a charity, or the race is very scenic and your main goal is to enjoy the view.

So that leaves the inevitable question…why am I doing the marathon? Is it for a set time, just to finish, maybe qualify for Boston? Am I doing it for the camaraderie in the running community? Of all the reasons I’ve discussed so far, none quite fit why exactly I chose to do the marathon. And to fully elucidate my reasons, I present this relevant and poignant quote from Rocky IV, delivered by Apollo “The Count of Monte Fisto” Creed.

“We always have to be in the middle of the action ’cause we’re the warriors. And without some challenge, without some damn war to fight then the warriors might as well be dead.

I’ve gone through twelve whole seasons of running for a school. From grade school up through college, I’ve always had teammates and coaches around me. Meets have been scheduled, I knew who the competition was, and I knew that I had to do well not just for my own sake, but for my teammates.

Now that I’m out of college, I needed a new goal. Something to shoot for. A new challenge to overcome. Something to keep me honest and humble, to make sure I kept striving to get better. And what would better do that than the daunting challenge of running 26.2 grueling miles? Even though my days running for a team are over, I now have my new war to fight. A challenge looming in the distance. And rest assured that I will give this latest, possibly greatest war, everything I have.

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