Dr. Ron Eaker is an ob/gyn who practices in Atlanta. He has written many books, including Healthy Habits for a Fit Family. He also shared a story in my book Miracles & Moments of Grace: Inspiring Stories from Doctors.
I get Dr. Eaker's e-mail newsletter regularly and really enjoyed his latest one. In it, he talks about running a marathon, and he shares some of his insights into the courage of people who enter marathons, even when they aren't in the best condition of their lives.
"It takes a special brand of courage to lace up the shoes, knowing you are overweight, and vow to complete a race," he observes.
I'll let him tell you the whole story. Enjoy his thoughts!
"I ran and finished my 24th marathon this past Saturday. It was on the
mercilessly undulating Atlanta course weaving itself through the hills and
valleys of such spots as Virginia Highland and Druid Hills. You would think I
would have had a premonition of the topography based on those neighborhood
names, but I was blinded by catacholamines from training runs.
There were about
12,000 runners, 10,000 in the half marathon and 2,000 brain-damaged body fat
haters in the marathon, and I am always amazed at the relative diversity of
folks running. There are people who you would see on the street and not
immediately assume they were runners, some even you may suspect were taste
testers at the Twinkie factory, but nevertheless, they were there and getting it
done. It takes a special brand of courage to lace up the shoes, knowing you are
overweight, and vow to complete a race.
Many people stay out of gyms to avoid
the snickers and stray looks from the Barbies and Kens who pride themselves at
having 2% body fat, so it is especially heartening to see folks of all shapes
and sizes at races. What I have also discovered is that, in differentiation
from the health clubs, runners embrace these folks and see them as fellow
strugglers on a path to wellness. There is a respect and acceptance of those
who don't have the expected anorectic body habitus of a marathoner as runners
understand you can't fake covering the distance.
For most of us, it doesn't
matter if you cover it in three hours or five hours as simply putting one foot
in front of another for 26 consecutive miles is proof enough of
persistence, and a bit of lunacy thrown in. It is a unique breed that
wishes and then accomplishes this, and it proves there is an outlet for us all."