This weekend was the 29th Belgrade Marathon. I had heard about it before arriving in Serbia and knew I was going to run the either the full or half marathon. In the end I decided to do the half because I did not have enough time to train for a full marathon.
On the day of the marathon it was much warmer than I expected. When the race started at 10am it was around 75 degrees, but by the time most people were finishing the half marathon it was already 80 degrees. It was also humid and a strong breeze on a long stretch of the course made running more difficult. Overall, the conditions were not the most ideal but it was a really fun experience.
Marathons and half-marathons are an event everyone should try at least once. You might be sore for a few days after the run, but the experience is worth it. Here are 9 reasons why I think you should run a marathon.
- Run for a cause
- As I mentioned in my previous blog, I was running on the Refugee Aid Serbia (RAS) team. We all wore t-shirts to raise awareness about the organization. It also served as a fundraiser for the organization since all the runners asked people to sponsor them by donating to the organization.
- If there is a specific cause you really care about you can probably find a race that focuses on raising money for a certain cause. Here are a few examples.
- Running for a charity can also improve your chances to participate in highly competitive races such as the Boston Marathon.
- Get to see a new place
- Running is a great way to get to know a city. I always try to go for a run when I am in a new pace because it gets me outside to explore!
- Marathons are held all over the world and it can be a good reason to travel to a place you’ve always wanted to go. When I ran a marathon in Chile I met a woman who had run a marathon on every continent! Yes, even one in Antarctica!
- Meet new people
- Most marathons have several events leading up to race day. For instance, many races will have a free pasta dinner where you can mingle with and meet other runners. You also get the benefit of some much needed carb-loading.
- If you traveled for your marathon, you will likely have the opportunity to meet other runners and people wherever you are staying.
- Bond with old friends
- Haven’t seen an old friend in a while? Why not plan a trip to visit your friend and run a marathon together? Many races have options for relay teams so you can get four or five friends together and enjoy a long weekend, while also completing a marathon.
- Free stuff
- Most marathons include a free t-shirt with registration. Sometimes you are given water-bottles, bags and discounts for athletic wear.
- Learn to push yourself
- Running really is a mental sport. It requires strong endurance but also significant brain power to keep running for 26 or even 13 miles.
- Encourages daily exercise
- Running is great exercise. Training for a marathon requires a lot of planning and hard work. Once you register for a marathon you have a goal to work towards and motivation to train on a daily basis.
- An excuse to eat sweets
- After running a marathon your body needs to re-fuel. It is okay to eat a little extra sugar the week following a marathon since your body used up a lot of its energy while running.
- Marathons are just plain fun. There is often live music, people line the streets to cheer, and the overall mood is exciting.