The Competitive Runner
~ ZZ Troutski
Walking is the healthiest sport you can be a part of in the physical fitness realm, but for many people the run through the forest or the pounding of their sneakers on the blacktop is their number one choice for losing weight, while getting back to nature.
The life of the runner is exciting, even though some see long-distance running as a bit of a bore. But let’s be real; when you head out on a long-distance run you’re embarking a brand new journey. Whether it be on city streets, or deep within that peaceful forest in a small town, running is a perfect way to explore the world.
When it comes to competition, the marathon is the epitome of fun and work; a true event for the lover of the outdoors who chooses to use their feet as the right w to travel. As with everything in the sports world, the marathon came from Greece. The event was actually created to honor a fabled run taken by a Greek soldier who was running to Athens to deliver some news.
This particular runner was moving fast in order to tell the people of Athens that they had been victorious in the Battle of Marathon. He was sent from the battlefield to alert one and all that the Persians were the losers. You couldn’t have a better ending to that particular run.
As with all Greek tales, this was one heck of a runner. The records (story), states that he ran the entire distance without stopping. And when he arrived at Athens, he said his peace and tragedy occurred when he then collapsed and died. Yes, this is a Greek tragedy after all, but the poor man did have to run a distance of 150 miles without stopping. Put that up against the 26 miles of a marathon runner, and you gotta give the guy credit.
There are more than 500 events held each and every year to aide the marathon runner in striving for success. Competitors are not ‘stars’ in the world of sports; in fact, most are recreational athletes and outdoor lovers who simply want to be a part of nature and competition.
In 1896, the Olympic organizers wanted to relive the ancient glory of Greece, so the Greeks put together a selection race. When the actual race was run, ‘Spyros’ Louis – a man who held the job title of Greek water-carrier – won in two hours and fifty-eight minutes. (His speed most likely came from the fact that he didn’t have to carry the water while he ran). When it comes to the female population, it wasn’t until 1984 that a women’s marathon was introduced at the Olympics…and U.S. runner, Joan Benoit, took the gold.
The Olympics was just the first, however, to bring long-distance running events to the world. And passion for long-distance running continues to grow. But when it comes to health and safety, people should be aware of certain things when they decide to prepare themselves for a marathon.
Training, of course, is a must. Everyone knows that 26-plus miles is not going to come easy, so training on the actual path of the marathon is recommended in order to get used to what you will be facing come race day.
But whether it be a competition, or just enjoying the beauty that the world has to offer, always make sure to have a good time!