The marathon is considered to be, for many runners, the mother of all road races. For many it’s a big accomplishment, a commitment to train for the distance and often is a bucket list goal that, like an itch, is not going away until the proverbial scratch.
The inspiration of the marathon dates back to 490 B.C. where professional messengers, or runners, carried a lot more importance and prestige than they do today. Pheidippides was the legendary Greek messenger who was sent 26.2 miles to Athens to announce the Persians had been defeated in the Battle of Marathon. Having recently run back-to-back 140-mile mountainous treks to and from Sparta to seek military reinforcements, the run to Athens would be his last as soon after he died from exhaustion – and the world would never be the same.
These days running inspiration comes from within or from a local instructor, while others will try to emulate modern Olympic heroes. Here are a couple of recent quotes from running legends, each revealing their favorite marathons, to motivate you.
The world’s oldest marathoner, Fauja Singh, now 101, has run three different marathons– London, Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront and New York. Harmander Singh is his coach and translated via email, “He loved every moment of every run equally and he could not rank them as everyone was so nice to him wherever he went.” He continues, “About the three he said: ‘The London was my first and last marathon – it was also my home race. I set the fastest time and later became the first 100 year old in Toronto.’”
Running pioneer Kathrine Switzer was the first woman to officially run the Boston Marathon in 1967. “My favourite marathon is Boston, I’ve run it eight times and I plan to run it again in 2017, on the 50th anniversary of the famous 1967 race, my first marathon, where I encountered the Jock Semple incident (he tried to physically remove her from the course) and changed history. The reason I still love Boston the best is because of the tradition, the crowds who pack the route and understand the marathon, have grown up with it and view it as an annual rite of passage. Also, I love the undulating course. Lastly, I love how you have to qualify for (Boston).”
I hope the above quotes will motivate you the way they have for me. You may want to create a little room on the fridge door for this before you head out for your next run.
An update on Switzer: Kathrine Switzer will be appearing in the three-hour PBS/AOL landmark documentary, MAKERS–Women Who Make America, a compelling story of amazing women trailblazers.