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Ah… the St. George Marathon is upon us. You need to know that I am NOT a runner unless I am being chased. However, that being said, I am a huge fan of the many runners that blanket the streets at this time of the year. I have learned a lot over the years watching those around me train and compete in this marathon, and it didn’t even require me to lace up my shoes!

Lesson #1  Mental endurance is everything. I don’t say this to discount the months of training and physical preparation that each runner invests into a marathon. But to actually witness runners with so many different body shapes, ages, and ailments, I can’t help but believe there is so much more carrying each runner over the finish line. It is a beautiful thing to see the body perform such a feat. It is even more beautiful to see their spirit pushing to get them there.

Lesson #2  Slow and steady wins the race. I have noticed that some approach preparing for a marathon like a crash course. They start big, but seem to feel pretty miserable along the way. For others it seems to be more a way of life. What I have learned is that successful runners pace themselves to avoid injury and allow for growth. They are forgiving of their personal limitations.

Lesson #3  You can do anything… if you want it bad enough. To watch a marathon is to witness miracles in action. Everyone has a story, and it would be fascinating to know the personal triumphs and accomplishments of each runner. What did it take them to get there? What did they learn about themselves? Why did they run?

Now for those of us who are not runners, I think it is important to remember these lessons. If we believe we can do something, it will get us a whole lot closer to our goal than if we believe we can’t. It isn’t about being perfect or looking perfect. It is about moving forward one step at a time. It is about pacing ourselves. It is about getting back up when we fall.

In my book, you runners are all winners. Thank you for letting me learn by watching you do hard things. We are each running a race though it may not always be 26.2 miles.  For each of us tackling our own long roads, let’s do this!

Photo provided by Bob Ken Saxton – the barefoot runner at the St. George Marathon circa 1999. Photographer unknown.