ma. okt 18th, 2021
Why?

Dear readers,

Recently I could see in my statistics how much time you spend on reading my blogposts!

I would think – at least – 10 minutes, but the real and shocking answer is as follows:

19 seconds.

So. We’ll keep it brief & short, there’s only so much one can read in 19 seconds! 🙂

Here we go. Why on earth do you run a marathon?

I guess all of us have wondered at a certain point in team, for example, after 35 kilometers in the race,

“Why am I doing this?”

Well, there are a number of different reasons for that.

1. Health

The most obvious reason for running is, of course, to boost your health.

Many books have been running about this topic, and if you prefer to be done in 19 seconds, so am I 🙂

2. Satisfaction / achievement

An excellent article on the subject ( link ) explains that many runners feel a sense of accomplishment because they achieve an audacious objective, by completing a marathon:

“It’s the feeling of accomplishment I get crossing the finish line that keeps me coming back. There is a surge to it you don’t get from other sports, because the sheer amount of time and effort that goes into a single marathon dwarfs that of an individual soccer game or tennis match. Can you push yourself through enough hell to finish is the only question!”    

For example, for runners with a disability the marathon is a way to stand up: we read the story of a German runner: 

“Tom Eller is a deaf-born marathoner who lives in Essen, Germany, and has run 11 marathons. He ran a 2:47:11 in the 2019 Berlin Marathon, making him the fastest deaf German marathon runner. Eller, who teaches deaf and blind students, says, “I challenge my life, which has communications barriers, by running marathons around the world to show people that even disabled people can achieve great things. For my deaf kids and teenagers at school, I am a role model.”

When I asked the question in TeamFischer, this was a reply:

“Because this is a distance you can’t do without serious training. Not everyone who puts on their shoes can run 42,195 km, I find it a really nice challenge to do this!”

And also:

“I decided to run my 1st marathon at age 40. Mainly because I like to run, and I want to do this with a purpose. After Sunday, I will know if I want more of this (or not)!”

3. Self-confidence

Another piece of this puzzle is self-confidence. If you can run a marathon, it gives you the self-confidence you need, so that you can handle other challenges. For example, scientific research has shown that people who run marathons and who write blogs have such a high level of self-confidence that they can easily manage the fact that their blogposts are read in less than 19 seconds 🙂

Of course, there are many other reasons why people decide to run a marathon (feeling of freedom, competition, etc.), but one particular reason got my attention:

4. Social status

Yes. It appears that many runners think that running marathons provides a social status:

“Egan-Wyger suggests endurance running can also be a way of gaining social status. Showing that you are capable of a long-distance race projects qualities of health, productivity and efficiency to others, she argues, akin to cultivating a personal brand.”

Easy to imagine: social media and apps like Strava play a BIG role in this respect, of course! 🙂

Research at the University of Toronto found that runners who are more proud of their hobby also spend significantly more time and exert greater effort during their training sessions.

5. Weight

We’re entering the danger zone here … 🙂

Polish research revealed that male and female runners may have different reasons to run:

“Female marathon finishers were more motivated than men by weight concern, affiliation, psychological coping, life meaning, and self-esteem, but less motivated by the competition.””

A bit cliché, but still, we like to include it, for the sake of completeness.

6. Hormones

Hormones may play a major role too. On the plus side, hormones can give you a runner’s high.

On the negative side (“pain”), there are hormones at work that ensure that we quickly forget the pain suffered.

And that we will register again soon for the next marathon! 🙂

In that sense, a marathon can actually be compared to giving birth:

“Dominika Farley of Jagiellonian University in Poland and colleagues drew parallels between the pain from giving birth and from marathon running. Both tend to be underestimated when later recalled, which may be explained by the release of oxytocin in the brain which influences how the memory is encoded, say the researchers”

So. What is the conclusion from all of this?

Well, next time you come close to the 35 kilometers checkpoint, and you think:

“Why am I doing this, again?”

Then you provide yourself with seven answers! :

  1. “For my health
  2. “For the sense of achievement, I’m going to accomplish something here today!”
  3. “To give my self-confidence a big boost.”
  4. “Soon I’ll be able to post it on Strava, on Facebook, on Instagram, on Pinterest, and on Tiktok.”
  5. “Look how I am losing weight!”
  6. “It’s not as bad as giving birth, I think.”
  7. “If I survive this, I will read Peter’s blogposts a little bit more carefully!”

With kind regards,

Peter

P.S. 1 Link to Dutch version: Waarom – Marathon Running Blog

P.S. 2 Don’t want to miss any blogs?

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