How many people do you need to run a marathon?

How many people do you need to run a marathon? That’s a seemingly odd question, like how long did it take to run your fastest marathon? But if you change the wording to instead make it how many people helped you run your marathon?, then you see where I’m going with this.

The role of partners

Marathon training is time intensive. It’s time that runners selfishly carve out for themselves from daily life and that necessarily impacts those around us. I recognised this a while ago and it was still refreshing to have it reinforced by an old work colleague. I posted a photo on Facebook one Sunday following a long run on which my partner accompanied me riding a rental bike. The supportive colleague, an experienced marathoner himself, called out that it takes two people to run a marathon, referring to my partner.

George, the aforementioned partner, continues to be unfailingly patient and generous in her support of my running habit. It shows up in many different ways, which is to say my training impacts many different aspects of our lives, from my disproportionate contributions to laundry, to my pre-long run carb’ loading preferences, to consuming literally hours of our weekend time together, to unnecessary spreadsheet proliferation and a mildly obsessive running dynamics data addiction.

She goes above and beyond (a.k.a. sacrifice) in her support of my passion for running. It’s part of why she is a wonderful human being and why I love her. Thank you to my partner.

The role of friends

The support net can be cast wider. I value the support I’ve received from a marathoner friend I’ve known for twenty five years. Since I first voiced the challenge of running my first marathon she has been behind me, sharing tips and strategies for the 26.2. She has liked and commented on my training runs and used her energy to spur me on whilst being a source of running inspiration. Thank you.

The role of coaches

Do you work with a coach? I have and the good ones are the most impactful and humble people around. Their expertise and knowledge is what gets me to my best performances. Having achieved new PB’s, having consumed their input, they remind you that it was your race, your effort, your execution that nailed the PB; they are the definition of humility. Thank you to the coaches.

The runners

The more I’ve delved into running and training the more the running community has unfolded before me. The community that I’ve interacted with has taught me a lot. Friends and colleagues who inspire me with their efforts and experience, who guide me to safely increase training intensity, who introduce me to elite athletes. Thank you to the runners.

The inspirational activists

The more I run the more I continue to see truly inspiring individuals. The Achilles team runners in Central Park are an incredible bunch. The guides who give their time and skills, and the inspiring Achilles athletes out there putting down miles, overcoming huge challenges, just another day for them. Thank you to the inspirational athletes and guides.

The supporters

Running for a charity has proven a huge motivation for me. There’s obviously the cause itself making it simple for me to put aside my inhibitions and raise money. Equally the people who donate in acknowledgement of my efforts. I derive a huge amount of motivation and energy from the kindness and generosity of the people that support my races. Thank you to everyone that’s supported my marathons in many different ways. It’s very humbling.

The family

Finally for me is family, and I give special mention to my dad here. They continue to be proud of my achievements. Of course they are biased, and they’re proud regardless of what times are recorded at the finish line.

So, let’s revisit that not-so-trick question one more time. How many people helped you run your last marathon?

Who’s an integral part of your running crew?

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