I recently was sent an article about a gentleman who wishes to run 250 marathon distances in 2010. According to the website, the 54 year old Martin Parnell will run 12 actual marathons with the remaining distances being run on the Cochrane Foothills Marathon course in Cochrane, Alberta.
I love reading about these sort of adventures. Often when I speak about them, people wonder if I feel it will distract from what I myself accomplished in 2006 with my 52 Marathons in 52 weekends. I have a mutil-layered answer to that.
1. Arrogantly, I can say that just because someone is attempting something doesn't mean they will accomplish it. I know one fella who has on two separate occasions tried to run a marathon every single weekend for an entire year but injuries and bad luck had derailed his plan both times.
2. Pragmatically, I know I was not necessarily the first person to have done what I did and I will not be the last. Now, whether someone ran actual marathon races or just ran a course with some friends, and at what speed they ran them is another question.
3. Logically, I can say that the two feats are completely different. For example, Mr. Parnell will not be working a full-time job as I was. His goal is also not to run just a marathon every single weekend with no lapses, but rather to push himself in his own special way.
But most importantly is the fact that I simply shake my head at questions that imply I may be unhappy other people are pushing themselves. I ran 52 consecutive weekly marathons in 2006 while averaging a 3:21 per marathon and working a 50 plus hour a week job in a firm in the greater DC area. Nothing anyone did before me or does after me can take that away from me. Period. A person would have to be pretty low in self-confidence to worry about others challeneging themselves in their own special way. And one thing I am NOT lacking is self-confidence.
I APPLAUD Mr. Parnell's journey and wish him the best of luck, just as I do my friend Sam with his Operation Jack mission. Their attempts to see what their bodies can do, and also what curveballs life can throw in your way once you think you have it all worked out, continue to inspire me. I also, in no way envy their year ahead. I did it once. I cannot imagine doing it again.
I will be following Mr. Parnell's quest and hope beyond all hope he is able to complete it. As he tries to raise $250,000 for Right To Play, international humanitarian organization that uses sport and play programs to improve health, develop life skills, and foster peace for children and communities in some of the most disadvantaged areas of the world, I hope he does not get discouraged if the donations do not meet his expectations. His efforts alone will continue to make others think about their own limits and what they can do.
And that is something we can never have enough of in this world.