This I Believe

Ilana - Reisterstown, Maryland
Entered on May 29, 2007
Age Group: Under 18
Themes: work
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I believe in running. I believe in running marathons with no intent of winning, just to run to feel the fresh air in your face and to feel the pain in your legs. I do not run races to win them, I run them in spite of that.

I have been running daily for almost five years and in those past five years I have learned so much about not only myself but about life in general.

Running has been my greatest challenge, the one thing that I have absolutely no natural talent in. I jumped on a treadmill five years ago and never looked back. I started slowly and gradually built up my endurance, when I started I could barely run a mile, I never imagined myself running 26.2 miles.

The finish line was so close yet so far away. I had completed 26.1 of the 26.2 miles, five hours had passed and I just wanted to finish. I wanted it to be over. I looked to the man at my left and smiled at him. He smiled back at me and then looked straight ahead. I thought of saying something to him like “we’re almost there” or “its just around the corner.” I thought about saying something but then I stopped myself. I didn’t need to say anything because enough had already been said. Neither of us were winning the marathon, the winners had finished a good 3 hours beforehand yet just the acknowledgement of each other was enough. We were both there to run.

I have run two half marathons and one full marathon and I am only sixteen years old. When I tell this to most people they just shake their heads and say they could never do that or they say I must be in amazing shape. But the thing is that I’m not different from everyone else. I just want to finish, I stop to walk at times and by the time I finish, 5 hours and 10 minutes into the race most of the crowds are gone at the end but I don’t care.

I believe that anyone can run a marathon. I believe that though the road getting there is tough and it often seems like there is no point in continuing it is well worth it. Once you realize that life is more than a competition you can do anything. This I believe.