The Makings of a Great Marathon

I love the atmosphere of a good marathon. I love the community and the victory and the mental toughness that a marathon brings. A marathon weeds out the weak of mind. A marathon seeks out greatness. There are a few essential ingredients that make for a great marathon.

A great marathon needs VOLUNTEERS and STAFF. They are the backbone of the entire experience. They are the physical support. They’re the ones running the expo the day before handing out race bibs and swag. They provide water stops. They’re the medical staff. They’re the ones guiding the runners on the race course, providing direction. The runners’ experience is defined by the behind the scenes.

A great marathon needs CHEERLEADERS. It needs encouragers on the sidelines willing to get up early, brave the weather, and cheer at the top of their lungs. The music is blaring, the cheering is deafening, and you hear total strangers cheering you on by name or bib number. They bring fun and creative signs to display like:

  • “Chuck Norris never ran a marathon.”
  • “That’s a lot of work for a free banana.”
  • “Run fast, I just farted.”

What’s your favorite race sign you’ve seen? Share below, I’d love to know!

A great marathon needs RUNNERS to get in the race. Without the runners, there is no sport. The runners create the athleticism on race day and are the reason others get inspired.

A great marathon needs a time of PREPARATION.  The race doesn’t come together overnight. It takes months of planning and organizing. It takes months of hard training, discipline, and sacrifice. Race day is the fabrication of months of passionate preparation. How a runner finishes is determined in how he trained. Preparation is key.

The Makings of a Great Goal

The makings of a great marathon aren’t much different than in the game of life, are they? When you’re in pursuit of a goal or dream, there are essential ingredients that make for a great finish.

A great goal needs access to TOOLS and RESOURCES necessary to gain an edge. They can come in the way of personal growth books, motivational audios, leadership conferences, coaches, mentors, or online resources and tools.

These are like the VOLUNTEERS on marathon day. They are there to help the race run smoothly and go off without a hiccup. They are a runner’s guide or road map to a successful race. The tools and resources are your guide or roadmap in your race toward your dream.

A great goal needs CHEERLEADERS. You can accomplish a goal by yourself, but it’s harder and lonelier. Cheerleaders can come in many forms but are mainly friends and family who are supportive and encouraging as you pursue your dreams.

Anyone can get into the fight. All it takes is a whole lot of training and a willingness to not be normal.

When you’re on fire, others will naturally come out of the woodwork to watch you burn. You will in turn be an encouragement back to them because you’re now an inspiration not willing to stay where you’re at but rather striving for more. Everyone needs affirmation in some form or fashion. Affirmation that says you matter, and you are worthy. Cheerleaders do that for you.

A great goal needs a DREAMER. You can’t have a great marathon without the RUNNERS, and you can’t have a great goal without the dreamers. A goal is just a wish unless there’s action and a plan behind it. You have to be willing to be decided and get in the fight.

A great goal needs passionate PREPARATION. It doesn’t just happen overnight. A goal takes time to manifest. It takes mental strategy, physical planning, and hard work. The middle, the preparation, is what determines the outcome.

The will to win is not nearly as important as the will to prepare to win. Everyone wants to win, but not everyone wants to prepare to win. preparing to win is where the determination that you will win, is made. Once the game or test or project is underway, it is too late to prepare to win.

Bobby Knight

You can pick a goal and have good intentions, but until you’re willing to take the necessary action, it will remain just a thought — a goal unfinished. If a runner isn’t willing to put in the mental and physical training months in advance, race day will not equal a finish of excellence. Preparation is pertinent in pursuing a goal and finishing the course.

Final Stretch

Whether you’re training for a marathon or pursuing another dream, don’t forget these four crucial elements that make for a great race or goal. Thank the volunteers as you pass them, latch onto the appropriate resources, your tools to create your roadmap.

Ensure you have cheerleaders in your life affirming your training and ambitions. Be willing to get into the fight rather than just wishing you could. Prepare, prepare, prepare. Do the hard work behind the scenes so you can flourish on race day and finish strong.

People tell me all the time they could never run a marathon, and my response back to them is that they sure could! All it takes is a whole lot of training and a little bit of crazy. It’s no different for your dream. Anyone can get into the fight. All it takes is a whole lot of training and a willingness to to not be normal.

You are a winner. Just run YOUR race!

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