AWNY Communications Committee member Melanie O’Brien has historically been a fence sitter when it comes to whether to run a marathon, or not. She penned this article after watching a new documentary about one of the most iconic marathons in the world.
Have you ever wanted to run a marathon, or wondered why it features on the bucket list of so many? What is it that makes running 42.2 kilometers (or 26.2 miles) so alluring?
These questions tend to come up at this time of year, as signs of the annual New York City Marathon begin to appear and runners begin to fill the boroughs.
I’m Not a Runner, profiles a group of Aussie women as they train for months ahead of the 2018 NYC Marathon.
Anna Liptak, is a fitness trainer of the group and producer of the documentary. She shared some personal reflections about encouraging this group to join her in running the NYC Marathon.
“I think there’s something incredible about the way the people of New York embrace the NYC Marathon, it’s that support I think that gives first-time runners, in particular, the best chance of finishing the race,” she said.
And while many of us may be familiar with New York’s beautiful bridges, having been stuck on one in an Uber or on the subway, apparently there’s nothing like running across one of them with a huge crowd, — “that finish in Central Park is just amazing.”
Here are some of the insights I had after watching the documentary.
You Can Always Find Someone to Run it With You
For fence sitters like me, the idea of having someone else holding you accountable to your training and completing the race seems necessary.
The documentary squarely affirms that training and running in a team is better than doing it alone.
Other films focusing on running a marathon, such as Brittany Runs a Marathon, also support making running a team sport.
For Anna, the support of the group and the friendships developed made it even more worthwhile.
“To know that you’ve achieved something together that is just so far beyond what you thought was possible is just amazing and, for many, completely life changing,” she said.
You Don’t Have to Be a Runner to Run a Marathon
Running seems to be one of those polarising activities that no one wants to say they do — unless they can do it well.
The documentary highlights running as one way to push boundaries and challenge yourself.
“For me, and the people I train, it’s about improving your fitness and feeling good about the small steps that you are taking to create a better life for yourself, but just as easily for someone else it could be about taking on a challenge of a different nature, writing a book, going down a different career path,” she said.
“It’s all about giving yourself the chance to have a go at something and a chance to make a little more out of your life. Not worrying about failing — just having a go and knowing either way you will have your answer. Too many times in life we are too afraid of failing so we do not even try.”
It’s Never Too Late
The personal stories from the I’m Not a Runner documentary will no doubt inspire, regardless of whether you have any penchant for running.
But it was something Anna’s mother said, (who by the way ran the marathon at the age of 73) that moved me from the fence, to an inch over the affirmative side.
While Anna boldly states that she has never met a person who has done the NYC Marathon and regretted it, Anna’s mother, Margaret, has a broader message, “do what you can, whilst you can, as you never know what is around the corner”.
Now You Want to Run a Marathon — How on Earth Do You Do That?
AWNY member Julia O’Brien ran the NYC Marathon in 2018 (yes, the same year the documentary was filmed!).
She has plenty of practical tips for getting ready for the race day.
Her top tip — comfort is key!
To find out what else she recommends, read the article: here.
America Josh also has some helpful tips on the NYC Marathon (and the dreaded task of signing up).