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Eat Pray Run DC: 4 Reasons to Run a Marathon…and 1 Reason NOT To

If it seems like everyone around you is running a marathon, that’s because…they are! According to Running USA, there were 232,600 women (including me!) that finished a marathon last year. Participation in marathons is at a record high, and numbers will likely continue to grow. If you have been thinking about joining the masses and committing to a marathon, here are five reasons you should click register on that screen:

  1. The sense of accomplishment. Running a marathon is a wonderfully amazing physical feat. When you inevitably cross that finish line, you will be beyond proud of yourself. Setting a goal and accomplishing it — whether it takes 3 hours or 4 hours or 7 hours — is one of the best feelings in the world. I honestly think that when that goal is a marathon, it feels 26.2 times better!
  2. Your confidence will grow. While training for a first marathon, every long run is a new mileage record. It will likely be the first time running 16/18/20 miles. You will feel like such a rock star each time you ramp up to the distance to a number that previously seemed impossible to you! After the race, you will be able to think: “Hey, I ran a marathon. I can do anything.”
  3. You will make new friends. Last week I wrote about how awesome it is to run with a buddy. While training for a marathon, chances are you will find a training partner. You will start to see the same runners on your trails. You may join a training group. Or maybe you will somehow stumble across other runners who are training for the same race as you are. I have met so many awesome folks while training for and running marathons, and you will too.
  4. You will inspire others. In the nine months since I ran my first marathon, I’ve inspired a coworker and my husband to both sign up for the marathon that was my first (The Richmond Marathon, if you’re looking for a great race). I’ve inspired another coworker to run his first 5k. I am also starting a running group at my church. It’s pretty awesome to be able to share my love of running with others, and I guarantee you’ll do the same when you train for a marathon. And yes, a part of that will be because you will talk about it all the time…but that’s cool, right? :).

Of course all that sounds awesome. However I can think of one big reason NOT to run a marathon…if you just simply don’t want to! In my circle of running friends, there are folks who have run marathons, as well as a bunch of runners who haven’t. Sometimes us marathon gals can get a little crazy and want ALL our friends to run marathons as well. However training for a marathon is a huge commitment and if your heart isn’t in it, then focus on what you love instead.

Eat Pray Run DC

Courtney Dredden is the author of Eat Pray Run DC, where she blogs primarily about running, food and D.C. life. A two-time marathoner, she is currently working toward her next big running goal: a sub–2 hour half marathon. Outside of running, she loves her church, Alabama football and her miniature dachshund.