A news story about a 100-year old man, Fauja Singh, who became the oldest person to complete a marathon is an internet buzz. Singh earned himself a spot in the Guinness Book of World Records for being the oldest man to finish a marathon on Sunday, October 16, 2011.
Marathons chew up and spit you out! I know. I completed marathon #4, 26.2 grueling miles, October 16th and felt a whole range of emotions. The marathon is just as much a mental challenge as it is physical. It is when you are feeling your worst that you are tested and, very often, a race angel appears.
Race angels are individuals who are going through the 26.2 war with you and believe in you. They believe in you when you no longer want to, are not able to, or fail to believe in yourself. Race angels are those amazing individuals who maybe only give you a smile as they run alongside you or look you square in the eye and say “You can do it!” They take you away from the pity party and help you persevere.
During my fourth marathon, I encountered quite a few race angels. First there were the big smiles from all the other marathoners. Next there was a fellow TNTer from the Greater Sacramento region who yelled “Come on Girl. You can do this.” Then my mentor found me. She shuffled along for awhile to distract me from the pain I was feeling in my hips straight down to my foot. Last, there was this older lady running with a sign on her back that read “This is my 83rd marathon”!
Will I continue to run? Yes! In fact, I am planning on running a 10k the morning of my wedding day!
Below are three tips to get you started on running your own marathon, walking a half marathon or just start moving!
- Slow and steady
- Work your way up to a 5k first. Fall is the perfect time to check out your local Turkey Trots and Holiday runs.
- Make it social
- Sign up for a fitness jogging class at your local community college or ask your local athletic store about run groups.
- Do it for charity
- Many new runners challenge themselves by also choosing to fundraise for their favorite charity. Signing up for such a program provides coached training along with the satisfaction of having a positive impact.
A common message I saw printed on poster board at Nike was, “Quitting is temporary. Pride is forever.” My race angels helped me get through my last marathon and reading the story about Singh challenges my beliefs about age.