Why exactly is running a marathon such a huge accomplishment?

ABP Newport Marathon Festival | NEWPORT, WALES

As 4-time Olympic gold medallist Emil Zatopek once said, ‘if you want to win something, run 100 metres… if you want to experience something, run a marathon’. A marathon is an extreme journey that demands resilience, determination, willpower and focus. It takes preparation and to complete it, you need to be in excellent physical condition. But what is it exactly that many runner’s bucket lists.

1) It takes months of dedication

What makes a marathon so unique is that it is impossible to run without the right level of preparation and training. For the months leading up to the race, runners employ a sweeping change in lifestyle. They get out in their running gear more often, clock running miles they never thought possible before and do all that they can to stay healthy. The levels of dedication are comparable to sacrifices elite sportspeople go through, making marathon success such an impressive feat for amateur runners.

2) Running through the pain barrier

Injury is, unfortunately, just part and parcel of the process. In training, people are forced to continue through tough conditions. The show must go on. Blisters, sores and aches are given just a day or two to recover before training starts all over and runners take to the roads once again. Ice baths are common, painful runs more so. Marathon runners don’t stop at the wall, they don’t have the time to – they run through it head first and let nothing stop them reaching their goal.

3) Dietary challenges and alterations

The advised foods included in a marathon nutrition plan are oily fish, vegetables and protein – plenty of it. As race day draws closer, the willpower to stop eating takeaways and maintain a healthy diet is immense. Minimise alcohol intake, lay off the cheese and give your body the best physical chance of assisting your mind on the day. Diet changes can be hard-hitting, but they don’t have to be drastic.

4) Understanding your self

You’ll learn a lot about yourself in training for a marathon. When race day arrives, you’ll learn even more. It’s a character building process that brings the very best out of people – that’s what we think anyway! Marathons are feel-good events with both runners and fans coming together to spur each other on towards personal goals and accolades. You’ll learn how high your limits are when you put your mind to it, and use that motivation to push yourself further in all aspects of life.