The idea of running a marathon first entered my mind back in 1999, while I was working at a local racquetball club. There was a meeting one night by a non-profit group that would train runners, but there was a catch. In exchange, the runners would have to raise a set amount of money to benefit the non-profit. I did not sign up.
About 5 years later, while living in Washington, DC, I discovered another group raising money and training runners, the National AIDS Marathon Training. They introduced me to Jeff Galloway and his run/walk technique. I worked hard to raise money, mailing out over 200 letters, only to fall short of my fundraising goals. No marathon.
Although not a marathon, running changed for me after I completed my first race in 2010. There is something special about crossing the finish line and hearing complete strangers cheer and scream words of encouragement. I loved it and continued to run and enter races. My first half marathon would be only months later.
In my first full year of running, 2011, I completed a 5-mile race, a 10k, a 12k, a 5k obstacle course and 5 half marathons. It was time to tackle the “bucket-list” race, the marathon. I spent a lot of time reading from Runner’s World and searching the Internet to find the perfect marathon to run. I finally settled on the 2012 Portland Marathon. I registered and started training. However, I was not able to make all the arrangements needed to make the trip. Again, no marathon.
Although I tried to stay away from fundraising training programs, I signed up for another one in 2013. This time it was the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society Team in Training. Again, I tried and, again, I failed. No marathon.
In June of 2014, I registered for the Two Cities Marathon. With only 5 months to train and having already ran five half marathons in that year, I knew I could do it. No fundraising. Close to home. No excuses.
After years of talking about it, I finally ran my first marathon on November 2, 2014. Running for the first time as an official member of the BNB Runners and with family and my girlfriend waiting for me at the finish line, I completed the Two Cities Marathon in 5 hours 51 minutes and 46 seconds (5:51:46).