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IN DEFENCE OF 26.2

MARATHONS ARE MORE POPULAR THAN EVER, BUT THE 26-2-MILE DISTANCE STILL DESERVES TO BE REVERED AS A MAGICAL MILESTONE TO CONQUER

I was standing at the tea point in my office a while ago when a colleague said: “You run ultramarathons, right?” “No”, I said. “Triathlons?” I shook my head. “Oh, just marathons?”

As it happens I have, since then, run three ultramarathons, but I often think back to that conversation and what it says about running today. In terms of impressing work colleagues, family and friends, it seems marathons are no longer enough. We’re in the post-marathon age, so to speak, when everybody knows someone who has run a marathon. What’s so interesting about that? A genuinely impressive running feat now needs to be something longer and more extreme. Fifty miles is OK, but it’s better if you can reel off numbers in the hundreds, and preferably over an insanely steep mountain range, a desert or some perilous jungle. With stories of such races circulating, you have to feel sorry for the person looking for sponsorship for his measly 26.2-mile jog around London.

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Find the complete article and many more in this issue of Men's Running - Nov-17
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