Thursday, April 26, 2012

Runners' Stories

I've been pondering on some of the conversations I had with runners during the Salt Lake City Marathon. I asked the question of why people started running and what their goals are.

One runner commented that this was his way of letting go of the past. He had recently gotten divorced and then a few days before the race, he was laid off from work. He told me that he'd had 26 years of a crappy life and he was letting go of each year with each mile he passed. He had battled a bunch of injuries in training for the race and was ready to move on. He finished the race just a few minutes after me.

Another runner in our group had run more than 10 marathons and was from Texas. He told me that he considered making a goal of running 100 marathons, but then decided it was easier to do the 50 marathons in 50 states.

Another runner was running his first marathon. He was just hoping to finish. He started running on a whim and it stuck.

It got me thinking that every person has a reason to run. My friend who is training with me for the Utah Valley Marathon in June trained with me for my first marathon in 2009. When we finished the race, I was excited and ready to sign up for another. He finished 10 minutes before me, but felt complete. He didn't have a desire to do more. 3 years later, he's back on the road.

I started running because of a conversation I had with a vendor who took us to lunch. He was training for a marathon and it got all of us who were at lunch excited. Our vendor never ran the marathon, but many of us at lunch that day took up the charge. I've wondered why I continued running when other around me have let it go. For me, it boils down to enjoyment.

I enjoy the way my body feels as I am running consistently (aside from the aches and pains of course). I like crossing the finish line and knowing that I accomplished something that most people will never experience. I like getting a medal at the end of a big race. I like being fit enough now that I can pace people who are working to get a new PR or wanting to finish without injury.

Since I have the opportunity to pace more and more, I will be asking the question of what motivates people to run and why they continue to do so. I wonder if there are patterns in the responses I get.

I'll post their responses on my blog. I'll have the opportunity to visit with a few more runners on Saturday as I do the Thanksgiving Point Half Marathon and then on the following Saturday when I pace the Provo City Marathon.

I'm interested and excited to see where this lead. Feel free to share why you started running and why you continue.

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