The Marathon Runner that’s in all of us

marathon runnerMarathon runner – can you imagine setting out to run 26 miles and 385 yards?

The enormity of the challenge is beyond most of us yet thousands of ordinary people give up their time to take part in something that is one of the most demanding, both physically and psychologically, in order to achieve something that they don’t have to do. It’s bizarre. There is no sense in doing something that is potentially damaging to us – are we mad?

Thousands of people take up this challenge. Why?

marathon runnerGeorge Mallory, whose is famous because he died in 1924 whilst climbing Everest having been seen 800 yards from the summit, when asked why he was doing it said, “Because it is there.” Yet for George, if he made it and no one knows whether he did or not, he knew he would have been the first person to achieve something. Today, taking part in a marathon is nothing new. So why do it?

To be a marathon runner is a personal challenge. It takes a lot of time and effort to get yourself fit enough and the amount of training that you do will be reflected in how fast you run the distance. People need to be committed, resilient and driven to do it. Through the sunshine, cold, rain, sleet and snow. Those who dedicate their lives to running and become great at it will cover the distance between under 2.5 hours whilst those who are regular runners will seek to run it between 3 and 4 hours. Many people will participant simply to cover the distance as a means to raise money for others who are less able.

Of course, what most of us fail to consider is that as a member of the human species, we are all anatomically designed to run long distance – to be a marathon runner. It’s true! It was how we survived in the past when covering long distances was essential for evading life threatening situations or pursuing food. However, for most of us life-threatening situations are fortunately rare and food is for most of the marathon participants is readily available.

Having a purpose; a meaningful reason seems to be the driving force behind why people become a marathon runner. Sometimes it is a habit that was ingrained at a very early age and becomes a way of life that certain people pursue into greatness. For the majority, it is probably a life-changing event whether personally or as a result of something happening to other individuals or groups. Ask a marathon runner why they did it, what might be the answer?

These events spark a change that becomes what drives us to achieve. Whatever the event is that becomes the tipping point for change, it gives the individual the drive and determination to succeed. For most the journey will be difficult and they will suffer pain and injury yet people will pick themselves up and carry on.

This ‘can do’ attitude will ensure that they cross the finish line and receive their medal. The personal pride will be immense and the satisfaction that for many, they will have raised money to change the lives of others who are less fortunate.

Having a reason, a sense of purpose is part of being Mind Fit. What difference would it make to our lives if we could find a reason, beyond personal basic needs, to achieve something in which we added real value? What difference would it make to our job if we were part of something that added value in a meaningful way?

Find the marathon runner in you or at least a real purpose and you will achieve.

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