I recently ran my fourth marathon in Frankfurt. ‘This is your day’ was the motto for the 35th edition of this event, aptly capturing the sense of occasion and achievement associated with taking part in this 42 kilometre challenge. I was delighted with my time of 3:03:46 because at 21 miles I hit the wall, that well-talked-about phenomenon in marathon running, and despite slowing down significantly, my mental strength and determination helped me to keep going.
The electric atmosphere at the finish in the 7,000 capacity Festhalle indoor arena made my perseverance worthwhile, it was a moment in running I’ll never forget. The marathon is not an easy event, and one which I am continually reminded to approach with respect. While the training and practical preparation is important in order to succeed in this test of endurance, much depends on the race itself and maintaining the desired pace. I logged many enjoyable miles training for the Frankfurt marathon and I was determined to give it all on the day. Even when I hit the wall, experiencing a sudden wave of fatigue and encountering the pain barrier, I thought of all the preparation I had done, and the effort I had made to get to the start line, the privilege it was to be exploring a new city, and how participating in the marathon was helping to keep alive my gift of running.
I find that the physical challenge of preparing for and competing in a marathon gives me strength and resilience for the challenges which I face in life. Running helps me to leave aside the baggage and burdens which I sometimes carry and to enter an interior space of silence, gratitude, prayer and recollection. It is a precious time for me, in solitude and away from the busyness of my daily activities, in which I am refreshed and renewed. I give thanks to God for the gift of running, and all the happy moments which I’ve experienced through it.