Running will change your life for the better, if you let it. Apart from making your healthier, happier and more ambitious, you will also function better and you’ll even find yourself eating better in order to fuel those miles. We love hearing from runners about what motivates them to run and the benefit it brings them. In this new featured blog series ‘Megan’s Miles’, Megan, a recent convert, will take us on her first marathon journey. So welcome to the first blog of the series, over to you Megan…
Megan (Right) with Sports Tours International Community Ambassador Rhianna Parkinson (Left)
The facts of the legend may vary, but it is generally accepted that the name of the marathon originates from the story of Philippides. He was an ancient Greek herald, of whom it is said, ran from Marathon to Sparta (around 150 miles), to request military aid, when the Persians landed, and then ran back to the battlefield (another 150 miles). Then after the battle, in which he had been a combatant, ran a further 25 miles from the battle, near Marathon, to Athens, to announce Greek victory in the Battle of Marathon (490 BC). It is said that his last words were “we have won”, announced before he collapsed from exhaustion and died.
So that might seem a little extreme, especially compared to the flat, fast, 26 mile 385 yard course that the Asics Manchester Marathon has to offer, but twenty-six miles is still a pretty long way, especially when you’re running it. We each have our own story, our reasons, motivations, our own road to the start line, and that means, whether you’re an elite athlete, seasoned club runner, or just someone looking to challenge themselves; running a marathon is about going so much further than a 26 mile race.
This is my marathon journey.
As far as runners go, I would say I’m still fairly inexperienced. In fact I was always more of a swimmer, but, between hanging up the goggles on competitive swimming in 2011 and setting out with personal trainer qualifications in 2014, I found I had lost a shocking amount of fitness. I therefore donned the trainers with no goal in mind other than getting a little bit fitter.
I wouldn’t say I was ever terribly unfit, but nor have I ever been a world beating chiselled heroine. I am, for want of a better word, distinctly average, and I guess when I took up running (on a treadmill in October, almost exactly four years ago) that I was simply trying to become a bit less average.
“However, really embracing running has given me so much more than that. I have met so many inspirational people, made friends who encourage me every day, and who I hope I will keep for life.”
“I have achieved things I never thought I would be able to, from my first 10k in 2015 (Just under an hour), to my 10k PB of just over 46 minutes (set this year at the UKfast City of Salford 10k, an excellent PB course), and now this year, making the move into longer distance running, with my first half marathon race in July (Fleetwood 1:44:51).”
The mythic runner’s high is a very real phenomenon for me. Although the cause of the much pursued running euphoria is much debated, is it due to endorphins, or hormone releases, or, as some theorists have suggested, due to change in body temperature, affecting the hypothalamus in the brain, and therefore indirectly affecting mood, I can very much relate to the, “euphoria, a feeling of being invincible, a reduced state of discomfort or pain, and even a loss in sense of time while running,” described by Jesse Pittsley, PhD, president of the American Society for Exercise Physiologists.
“Which was a truly challenging and varied course, with perhaps the best atmosphere and support of any race that I have ever done”…
… that I had my marathon accident. That is to say, one minute I was looking for my next race, and the next thing I knew, I had a confirmation email for my place in the 2019 Manchester Marathon. Proof, if ever any were needed, of the power of the runner’s high, and perhaps that I shouldn’t be trusted on my own with a laptop when the mornings are going slow.