To tick off a long-held ambition
How many people can say they’ve run a marathon? For many it’s a major lifetime goal - one to tick off the bucket list - and the satisfaction of finally achieving it is one of the major reasons why people run a marathon. Marathons also offer a chance to combine the experience with travel - think of major city marathons like London, Berlin, New York, Sydney, Paris - or you can run a marathon nearer to home and enjoy the local scenery. Add to this the support of crowds lining the route and the ultimate test of your mental and physical fitness, and you start to see why people run marathons.
To fundraise money for charity
Running for a charity cause is also a significant reason why many people run marathons. To run the 26.2 miles is a tremendous achievement, but to do it for charity makes it doubly rewarding. Knowing that you are running for charity provides extra motivation, both during the training phase and on the day, as you simply won’t want to let your charity down or your fundraising supporters.
To meet new people
Training for a marathon and then actually taking part on race day provides a great opportunity to meet new people. To tackle the training you may well want to join a running club or find a running partner to keep you going on those long hard training sessions. On race day itself there’s nothing like a marathon to bring people with a shared interest together! Whether it’s spectators or fellow runners, the marathon experience will bring you into contact with people with whom you'll have plenty in common.
To enhance your life success
Researchers have identified that regular running could contribute to success in other areas of life. The planning, hard work and commitment that goes into training for a marathon can help to improve character development, so by becoming a regular runner you could gain these additional benefits. A study of runners preparing for a marathon found that regular training improved people’s goal-setting, organisational skills and discipline in the workplace and outside it, so there’s another reason to run a marathon if you needed one.
To improve fitness
Training for a marathon will inevitably boost your general health and fitness. Running is great for improving cardiovascular fitness and bone density, and combined with other complementary activities such as such as yoga, swimming and cycling can lead to increased muscle strength and flexibility. Clearly you don’t have to run a marathon to take advantage of these benefits, but setting yourself a marathon goal (or other running goal) will ensure you stay motivated and continue to enjoy improved health and fitness.
To experience something new
A marathon experience is one like no other. Yes, it’s hard work, gruelling, and at times excruciatingly painful, but remember it is fun and you get to do something you haven’t done before. A marathon can be a rollercoaster of emotions, both during training and one race day, but come the finish line that feeling of success will be one like you’ve never had before. While you may swear afterwards ’never again’, it’s likely that one marathon may well lead to many more.
Because you can!
Why do a marathon? Because you can! Many people think that a marathon is beyond them and that they could never train for one, but people of all shapes and sizes, ages and abilities have successfully run a marathon. Setting the marathon goal, completing the training and then successfully running your race will prove to you that you can tackle almost anything if you put your mind to it.
Picture credit: Padmayogini / Shutterstock.com