I got back to York last week, for the start of my final term of second year. I’d really got into the swing of running almost every morning back in Gib (with the obvious advantage of being physically dragged out of bed), and thought that with three and a half weeks of training under my belt, I would finally be able to keep up a rhythm of feeling good(ish) and running a little further.
I don’t know if it’s the change of climate (even though the weather is pretty beaut…), increased alcohol consumption (whoops), or me generally feeling sorry for myself (ew exams, ew work) but my last few runs have been seriously, seriously demotivating. When you go from feeling like an absolute god after completing your first 10km to then, a week later, retching on the side of the road before you get to 5km, your ego is going to feel a teensy bit bruised.
Being my most rubbishy week so far I ventured to find some motivation from somewhere (anywhere!!) and found it in the cushy realms of the Internet. In my boredom I started looking up the craziest marathon feats I could find, and the search was far from disappointing. Here were a couple of the most bizarre, most inspiring and most downright silly ones I could find!
Fauja Singh became the oldest person to complete a marathon in 2011, doing it at the tender age of 100. 100 years old. This guy is a machine, he’s run all over the world, and he’s not the only person doing it for the oldies. Harriette Thompson set her own record by becoming the fastest female marathon runner (in the 90+ category), with a finishing time of just over 7 hours at age 91, and (no biggie) it was her 15th marathon in 16 years.
Blind since the age of twenty-two, and temporarily confined to a wheelchair for more than a year, Randy Pierce is the 46-year-old American national champion among blind runners, completing his latest one in under 4 hours. Oh, and did I mention Monday’s Boston Marathon was his fourth marathon in the last 12 months??!
I watched an amazing ESPN documentary about Terry Fox, a cancer sufferer whose right leg was amputated, and at age 21 began running across Canada. He did this in 1980, for 143 days and 5,373 kilometres (3,339 miles), running 42km a day on average, until he was re-diagnosed with cancer. He unfortunately lost his life the following year, unable to finish the journey, but managed to inspire the entire country (and rest of the world) to support him to raise millions of dollars to fight cancer. Since his massive marathon began 35 years ago, $650 million has been raised in his name. Want to be inspired? Watch the documentary (disclaimer: tears guaranteed).
The weird ones…
People apparently like to make running a marathon even harder than it already is. As if 26.2miles isn’t far enough, doing it while juggling/hula-hooping/bouncing basketballs/running backwards/knitting (yes, knitting) are just some of the bizarre, yet seriously impressive things people (apparently) enjoy doing. Doctor Dribble is one of these people, and he holds the record for the fastest marathon finishing time, while bouncing, not one, but two basketballs. I mean, why? As someone who plays basketball and grew up doing countless drills with two basketballs simultaneously I can say that five minutes of that is more than enough to make your arms feel like jelly and that’s without running at the same time. So why, why, why, would you want to do it for over 4 hours?!
The crazy ones…
Okay, so I knew that lots of people ran marathons, but something I was less aware of was the fact that plenty of people apparently choose to run marathons over consecutive days. What would possess a person to put themselves through the exhaustion over and over again, day after day, is beyond me – and the fact they can even finish them is just mind-boggling. And the record holder for this incredibly ridiculous challenge: Akinori Kusuda, of Japan, who ran a whopping 52 marathons in 52 days. That’s seven and a half weeks of daily marathons. That’s over a month. That is impressive.
So, what was I complaining about again? Going to go run my measly 6km…