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Digital Subscriptions > Men's Running > December 2018 > HAS THE MARATHON LOST ITS MAGIC?

HAS THE MARATHON LOST ITS MAGIC?

HAS THE RISING POPULARITY OF ULTRARUNNING MADE THE 26.2-MILE DISTANCE SEEM A TADLESS IMPRESSIVE?

EXPERT ADVICE

James Elson is the race director at Centurion Running, which organises 50-mile and 100-mile races. He says ultras are where it’s at centurionrunning.com

Q Marathons used to seem like an impossible distance, run only by the lycra-clad elite. Now almost everyone has run one. Does that make the marathon seem less magical?

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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.”