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Digital Subscriptions > Men's Running > December 2018 > SWEDE DISPOSTION

SWEDE DISPOSTION

ISAAC WILLIAMS JOINS 60,000 RUNNERS FOR THE GOTHENBURG HALF MARATHON – THE ‘WORLD’S LARGEST’ – AND ASKS, IS ITS POPULARITY JUSTIFIED
Photography Göteborgsvarvet, Glen Unger / Magnus Rönnkvist

And on your left you’ll see the space museum,” says my friendly but very talkative taxi driver. “I remember when it was on the other side of the road; Sweden only started driving on the right in 1967…” Having been up since 4:30am, I begin to accept lost sleep isn’t going to be found on this particular journey.

Drifting into a state of semiconsciousness, I nod and chuckle and respond with the occasional, “Is that so?” But my mind is elsewhere. Having recently read about the power of prerun visualisation, I’m already battling for victory in the largest half marathon on the planet. Rapturous crowds of painfully cool Swedes – all pristine Nike trainers and windswept hair – are cheering my name. The finish line’s in sight and, effortlessly picking up the pace, I cruise into first place – to the delight of the race commentator who, raising his megaphone, exclaims, “Your hotel, sir.” Dazed – but encouraged by my strong fictional finish – I pick up my bag and check-in.

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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.”