January 17 2018
Renee DeMarsh thrives on extreme physical challenges. She'll soon participate in the 2018 World Marathon Challenge.
Everyone can run. You don’t have to be tall, lean or have great legs to get out there.
I learned this a few years ago when I ran the New York City Marathon. Through my entire life, I’ve loved to work out. (I held my 16th birthday party at an aerobics class taught by Richard Simmons!) But I was told that, due to a case of mild scoliosis, I’d never be able to run for long distances.
But in 2005, I hit a rut in my life. I knew I needed something to wake me up out of my everyday routine. I decided that I was going to run a marathon. As a news correspondent, I had covered the Boston Marathon for a number of years. Following the lead runners in a truck I remember thinking, Why would anyone want to do this? But somewhere inside of me, this question planted a seed.
For me, the marathon symbolized something that I did not think I could do—something I’d been told I couldn’t accomplish. I wanted to see if those limits were real.
A wise man gets help from others, so I hired a personal trainer and a life coach. When I started training, I had so much doubt. Yet, before I knew it, I was completing 21-mile runs.
On race day, I took my first steps over the Verrazano Bridge and started to feel an ache in my hip. My mind was in a quiet panic. Then, I began to experience something miraculous. Inspiration appeared at every turn. A man passed me wearing a T-shirt that read he was running for his 4-year-old son with cancer. Dozens of veterans wounded in Iraq ran by.
Then, many miles in with many miles to go, I saw a man paralyzed from the waist down pushing himself in a wheelchair. I took off and didn’t stop until I crossed the finish.
At the end of the day, we all have our reasons to get through those 26.2 grueling miles. Who am I to not compete with all of my strength? What’s a little scoliosis compared to the pain others endure? The only limitations we have are those we have placed on ourselves.
MY BEST ADVICE: READ EVERYTHING THAT YOU CAN GET YOUR HANDS ON.
While training, I read First Marathons, which is about 37 unlikely runners who completed the 26.2-mile journey. Each chapter brought me closer to believing that if they could finish a marathon, then I could finish the race.