The Elephant in the room – Do people who run marathons know that they don’t have to?

Posted: 28th April 2021

These words appeared in my social media feed: ‘Do people who run marathons know that they don’t have to?’. This obviously got me thinking. It will come as no surprise to you that I have a fondness for endurance events. It wasn’t always this way but it has grown as I have aged. Over the years I have run a few marathons and ultramarathons, done a few triathlons and even cycled the length of Britain. Fortunately, I am not alone in this. I share this obsession with many others including some in our Edenhurst community. I am aware of at least 3 members of staff and a number of parents who are currently in training for their own personal challenges. So why do we subject ourselves to these seemingly pointless but painful challenges?

The health benefits are often a reason given but there are other ways to stay fit and healthy. Running a marathon is arguably unhealthy. So why do it? Human beings have always felt the need to push themselves, more so than any other species. This has taken us to amazing places and resulted in astounding inventions and achievements. We’ve been to the Moon and are heading to Mars! Perseverance in the face of adversity is one of the key reasons for these remarkable achievements. I believe that endurance sports develop this character trait. You don’t have to run marathons to learn how to persevere but you can’t run a marathon unless you have learnt how to persevere. 

All significant achievements are as a result of perseverance shown. This is something I learnt very early as a pupil at Westfields Primary, where the school motto to this day is ‘Persevere and Succeed’. This life lesson has stood me in good stead and I am pleased that it is part of our approach to learning at Edenhurst. Ellie the Elephant, who embodies this trait to our children, is our most popular learning friend. Our children understand the importance of perseverance from an early age and are encouraged to develop this. Having teachers and parents who act as role models definitely enhances this process.

So why do I run marathons? I do so because it is hard and the things worth doing are always the most difficult! I am not a natural athlete but endurance is something that I can develop if I stick at it. I have even managed to astound myself by completing challenges that I never thought I could. Being dragged across Britain by Mr. Barber (a very talented cyclist) was not something I thought I could manage, but taking on this seemingly impossible task and breaking it down into days and then breaking those days into 2 hour sessions made it seem more achievable. The sense of accomplishment as we rode into John ‘o Groats was massive. That feeling is one I want our children to share. At Edenhurst we foster a Growth Mindset and a big part of this is not giving up until you succeed but also setting yourself challenging goals. I have always believed that the potential of children is unlimited and this is something I tell our children daily. Telling them is one thing, living it is another. 


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