I had a thought the other day and I can’t think of an appropriate answer to it. Therefore, it has to be put out into the internet for some other people’s thoughts, I think.
Completing a marathon is something that is a dream of most runners. Being able to cross that line, get that medal, and to say “I am a marathoner” is something that not everyone can do and its is definitely something to be proud of. It takes a lot of work, time and dedication to run that magical 42.2K and it is something that never goes away.
Or does it?
I have run one marathon – Ottawa in 2006, finishing in 4:12. And while I had a blast and wouldn’t give that experience back for the anything, it was over 7 years ago and I have no interest in doing another one. I’ve run countless halfs, 10Ks, 5Ks before and since then, but the likelihood of me running another marathon, unless I develop amnesia and forgot that I did it the first time? Slim to not a chance in hell.
Am I still a marathoner?
It is a benchmark that is respected by sprinters and ultra-runners and understandable by runners and non-runners – even though the ‘how far was your marathon?’ or ‘my brother did a 10K marathon’ will always pop out at some point and while they don’t get it, they still respect that it is a really long way and you trained a long time to get there. Is being a marathoner something that I can hold on to for the rest of my life or is it something that has an expiration date and it will become outdated without the proper professional development or recertification?
I don’t think that I’ve ever referred to myself as a marathoner, except maybe on that Sunday where I physically had just completed the race, but I’m curious as to where other people think that the line is drawn, or if there even is one at all.
Is just one enough to be a marathoner? Is there a difference between ‘being a marathoner’ and ‘having run a marathon’?