Running a marathon is like childbirth

Running your first marathon is like giving birth … well mine was. Now, I have never actually given birth, but I have experienced it by proxy. I’ve been in the room and it looked excruciating. Once you’ve completed your first race people start to ask if and when you’ll run a marathon “But have you run a marathon?” Completing a 26.2 mile race is used as the measuring stick of an amateur fun runner. The Dublin Marathon is 16 weeks away and thousands are embarking on training programmes for the first time, but what does running your first marathon feel like?  The best I can do is comparing it to my experience of childbirth.


During the course of both the marathon and pregnancy the anxiety really begins two weeks away from the due date. The routes are checked and you’re raring to go, the preparations complete and plans and strategies are discussed with partners. On the day itself the people you love are going to watch you go through agonizing pain. You convince yourself you know how it’s going to feel. At the start; you know it’s going to hurt by the time it’s all over. You just don’t know how much and the next day, you are sore in places you’ve never been sore before.

Gentle encouragement in the early stages of both events may be welcomed and is actually quite helpful. However as the events progress, exhaustion hits, and good willed support may not be so well received, it may make you want to kill your support team. Things can progress very quickly, puking and pooping on oneself during the event and possibly at the same time, are not beyond the realm of possibility. The question “Why the HELL did I get myself into this” will definitely be asked. You know people are going to ask how long it took to complete. If it’s a quick time, it will bring the envy of others. If it takes longer your effort, endeavour and commitment will impress.

But it’s coming, the finish line is just around the corner, just one last big push and it arrives, the emotions and the sheer weight of what has just happened hits home. You look like a warmed corpse but a camera is shoved in your face and you try to smile for a picture that will be posted to FB in seconds. But in the end you are handed confirmation that all the preparation, effort and support was worth it – a finisher’s tech t-shirt!! I mean a Baby of course!!! And everyone’s next question “when are you going again?!”

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