Marathon Revelations

Monday, 24 January 2011  |  Bullish Insights

Do you want to know who a person really is?  What makes him tick?  Have him sign up for a marathon and his true self will be revealed.

After observing hundreds of runners toil away for months on end while training for their first marathon, I have enjoyed what marathon training offers: a glimpse into a person’s psychology and psyche.

If running is a metaphor for life, then marathon training is a window into the runner’s soul.

How a runner trains for a marathon uncovers vital information about her life beyond running.  It speaks volumes of who the person truly is: her character, beliefs, values, and even taste—in running and in the real world.

Note: The personalities detailed below are fictitious.  If you feel you are being described below, you are completely paranoid.

A leader will always find himself in front of the training group, perhaps set the pace or plan the course for each run.  He knows his stuff about running and shares this with the newbies. After a run, he rushes home to lead his business enterprise which he set up at the tender age of 20.

A follower will intentionally lag behind and ask questions: What distance do we run today? Where do we run? Are we joining the race next week?  Do you think I should wear the white or black underwear on race day?  A follower always has a coach, a leader, or anyone who can give him decent answers during a run.

The cheater signed up for TBR Dream Marathon knowing full well that it is only for first or second timers.  No worries, no one will ever know that she finished QC Int’l Marathon last year and is registered for Condura 42k on Feb.  She doesn’t care if she took the slot of a first-time marathoner who deserves the experience more than she does.  She HAS to run TBR Dream because her boyfriend will be there to cheer her on!  Just don’t tell her husband about it.

A planner will have her marathon training program printed out and displayed on every nook and cranny of the house. It is followed to a tee.  Marathon day is two months away but she knows her food, hydration, supplements, and outfit already.  She even has a post marathon training program ready.  All this has been neatly encoded into her ipad, a reward she bought for herself after her 3rd promotion this year.

The faker signed up for the marathon and posted about it on his blog.  He says he’s training seriously, but barely finds time to train since he’s too busy tending to his farm on facebook. He’s deeply worried about marathon day, but finds comfort in knowing that he can quit at 21k and simply tell his clueless friends that he finished the full.

This happy-go-lucky runner got lucky!  He heard about the race, impulsively registered, and found out he got the last slot.  Everyone is training heavily for the race, but he has no worries.  After all, he finished a 21k last year—note: half drunk and without any sleep—without collapsing.

A complainer always finds something wrong with herself and everything else: her yaya didn’t boil the eggs properly, her running shoe lacks cushioning, the pacer at the clinic ran too fast while her running buddies were too slow, the road had potholes, and the weather!  Oh boy, she asked God to make it cloudy that morning, but the sun appeared!  Arrgh!

The optimist is injured but knows that with some massage and cross training, the doctor will allow him to continue training next week.  He joins the running talks and observes at clinics eager to learn more about his newfound love for running.  He can’t believe he can run for 2 hours already, to think he only started running last year after he was declared cancer-free!

I could go on and on, but you get the point.  Each runner who signs up for a marathon will have his own tale to tell—not just after the marathon, but while training for it, not just through his words, but by his actions, and not just about his run, but his life and how he lives it. Make sure YOUR story is a GOOD one.