19 Aug

The Last Temptation of Chris

Marathon Runners

The marathon is a wicked temptress. Despite the inevitable pain, I have succumbed to her alluring ways again. "Never again", I said to myself after the last one. And the one before that and the one before that. But with two months to go until the Amsterdam Marathon, I simply have not been able to resist the urge.

"It's a perfectly flat course, this time it will be different." I tell myself. My gullible heart believes all this. But my head knows differently - it will be another 26.2 miles of suffering. Or to be more precise; 18 miles of joyful running, followed by 8 miles of utter torture. It must be a bit like this for alcoholics or smokers. "One more can't do any harm. Can it?"

I love running, I make no bones about it. I'd even go as far to say, I'm pretty reasonable when it comes to 5k or 10k. Although I have completed a few marathons now, I won't pretend I have any talent for them. I simply seem to run out of gas when the going gets tough.

Yet, despite it clearly not being the best distance for me, it is still the one I find most irresistible. If I was told that I could never run a 10k event ever again, I wouldn't like it. But I think I could live with it. But to be told that I could never run another marathon again? Yep, I think I would find that one a tough one to follow.

Let's face it. It's THE race of races. It's a race to push people to their boundaries, be they elite athletes or fun runner. As a consequence, although it can make you suffer like never before, it also makes you feel very alive. That may seem like a contradiction, but most marathon runners will understand.

And so, off I go again. The entry is confirmed, flights are booked and training is well underway. I have to say, it's going pretty well. You know, I think this time it might actually be different.