Chicago Marathon: Racing To Ego

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By John Hubbuch

I ran 8 marathons in my 50's. The fastest one I ever ran was 4 hours and 41 minutes. The slowest one was my last one in Louisville in 5:45. So I was a terribly slow marathoner, but at least I was never seriously injured although one time I passed out after a post race hot tub soak. Don't do that.       

Many of my friends and family members asked me why I ran marathons since almost all of the mental and physical benefits can be achieved by running 5 miles rather than 26.2 miles. I usually responded with blather about goal setting or you could eat whatever you wanted, but I came to realize that the real reason was ego tripping. Everyone thought that it was quite amazing that I could run that far. What they didn't realize was that anyone can run a marathon if they have the time and patience. It's not that much harder than collecting a giant rubber band ball or visiting all the state capitals.  

But I loved hearing people tell me how great I was to run mutiple marathons. Never mind that I was passed by children, geriatrics, a guy dressed like Elvis and another guy in a 3 piece suit carrying a brief case.            

At least I never asked anyone to pay money to some charity to sponsor me. I would have felt stupid asking for fifty bucks from my friends to support a charity when in fact I was running mainly for Moi. I think those charity  runners should take all the money for entry fees, gear, travel and transportation and donate the money. They could always run 26 miles on the Praire Path by themselves. But then you wouldn't get the honor and glory. But their friends would be grateful I'm sure.

I'm glad I ran 8 marathons. It was pretty fun for the most part (not the last 5 miles). I just wish I had been a little more honest with my self as to why I was doing it.

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Posted: October 11th, 2013 5:27 PM

John, I know what you mean. I ran five in my 20's, only finished three. Best time, 3:07. Didn't qualify for Boston, and pretty much decided I didn't like it, preferring the shorter races. I am trying to remember when all the hype started. In 1978 I ran the Mayor Daley Marathon on the lakefront. There wasn't a big crowd cheering on 7,000 starters. My favorite was the 1979 Mardi Gras Marathon across the Causeway Bridge, not a soul cheering on the bridge. Police strike caused route change.

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