Challenging the body and the mind in the BMW BERLIN-MARATHON

Bradley Walker
New York City 40°42'52" N, 74°00'26” W

42 kilometers isn’t a dash, a sprint, or even a race. It’s a Marathon, and accomplishing it takes strategy and determination.

Search the internet for inspiration for running a marathon and you’ll find a deluge of aphorisms and platitudes designed to motivate you, the reader, to stretch beyond your perceived mental and physical limits and arrive at a higher peak of accomplishment than you previously thought possible.

… a higher peak of accomplishment than you previously thought possible.

42 kilometers of running is more than many of us (read: me) think of as possible. The training will be too difficult. The stress will be too great. The road will be too far, and I’ll be too slow. Almost certainly, I’ll be accidentally, but still gruesomely, run over by the street-sweeping truck that picks up the discarded water cups and banana peels and confetti left behind from all the successful runners ahead of me.

But it can be done. It is done. It’s done every year by people from seemingly every walk of life. First-timers, internet cartoonists, cancer survivors, senior citizens, and even people dressed up as giant beer bottles all participate. People turn out in the tens of thousands to put themselves to this particular test of mind and body – and they succeed.

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How do they do it?

Pick up a book on marathon training. Thumb through the pages, and you’ll quickly see that training regimens focus on meeting a thoughtful set of smaller goals that all contribute to improving and building the strength to meet a much larger goal. If you can work your way to running 3 miles, then you can work your way to 5 miles, then 10 miles and beyond.

A consistent theme emerges when talking to marathoners. One word for that theme could be determination. But, that’s underselling it a bit – the theme isn’t solely the determination to cross the finish line. It covers a wider range of accomplishments. It’s the determination not to give up, the determination to not back-slide, to get up every day and train without fail, and to persistently pursue better results.

Another theme that emerges is a unique competitive aspect of running a marathon. Marathoners don’t spend a lot of time discussing who they’re going to beat, who they’ll be faster than, or how they’re going to win. The competition they engage in is internal, and again they set their sights not on being better than someone else but continually performing better than their last event.

These mindsets and strategies apply in athletics, but for many runners, they extend to all aspects of life. There are few things worth doing that aren’t worth doing better, and the idea of continual improvement becomes pervasive in everything they do. We like the sound of that.

We’re proud to sponsor the BMW BERLIN-MARATHON, and we wish all the participants the best this coming Sunday.

… and whether you’re running, walking, riding, or cheering on your favorite athletes, be sure to have a look at our Marathon page, where you can learn more about the places and history behind points all along the course path. Good luck!

Topics: Marathon maps, Editor's picks, Berlin Marathon

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