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Digital Subscriptions > Men's Running > December 2018 > IN SEARCH OF SUB-3

IN SEARCH OF SUB-3

ARBITRAY AS IT IS, THE SUB-3 MARATHON RETAINS A MAGIC APPEAL. BUT HOW HARD IS IT? DAVID SMYTH INVESTIGATES.
A wall of noise greets runners during last year’s London Marathon

“HAVING A ‘2’ IN FRONT OF YOUR MARATHON PB WOULD FEEL LIKE A PROMOTION TO THE PREMIER LEAGUE, PUTTING YOU, HOWEVER TENUOUSLY, IN THE SAME CLASS AS WORLD RECORD HOLDER DENNIS KIMETTO”

Telling everybody you know that you’re planning to run a marathon in less than three hours – or any landmark time, for that matter – is a bit like telling everyone you’re writing a novel: they’ll keep asking you about it every time they see you and it will be embarrassingly obvious that you haven’t done it. But a pointless running goal shared is a pointless running goal halved, right? So here I am, in print, telling an even wider audience that I’m aiming to run the 2016 London Marathon in 2:59:59 at least. Anything with a ‘3’ in front of it will be absolutely devastating.

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About Men's Running

I never had any desire to run a marathon. Yes, I watched it religiously every year from 1984 when Charlie Spedding set the then-English record and marveled at the speeds. But it didn’t hold any appeal for me. I was a track runner, a thoroughbred, an out-and-out speed merchant; the thought of running 26 miles consecutively, back-to-back, was just too monstrous a thought. And then I started working in running and I realised that, for 99% of the population, running IS marathons. No one ever says ‘ah, you’re a runner, what’s your 1500metre time?’. The first question anyone asks is ‘have you run a marathon?’. Fortunately, I’m now in the happy position to say yes. Several in fact. And more half marathons than I can actually remember. But running a marathon still isn’t easy. If it was, more people would have done it. It takes training, and work, and effort and a resilient mindset that says ‘I’m not going to give up on this journey’. In this special issue, we reveal the secrets, the highs and lows and the training that can get you round a marathon. There’s something here for everyone, even if you’re an experienced marathoner. As Emil Zatopek famously said: “If you want to run, run a mile. If you want to experience a different life, run a marathon.”