Running the extra mile: Marathon runners

“The first 15 miles is always a blast because you can kind of push through those on training alone, but after about [mile] 15 or 26 [it] is nothing but mental ability to push through the pain and finish,” gym teacher Jason Novak said about running marathons.

Some people around Northwood, like Novak, have run full marathons. which are 26.2 miles long, but half-marathons seem to be more popular among students and teachers. For whatever reason, people like to push through the pain of running the distance, long or short, and crossing the finish line.

“While running, the pain doesn’t really set in until about mile 16 or 17,” Novak said. “As long as you’re aware of your hydration you can keep it under control.”

“You feel really, really great and it’s just a sense of euphoria,” said junior Moli Eddins, who’s ran one half marathon. “I think it builds a good endurance and it builds a good mindset for running because you have to keep the same mindset for running as you do for a lot of daily activities.”

Most students who have run half marathons have only run one or two, but Novak and math teacher Jennifer Parks have run multiple half marathons and full marathons. Novak and English teacher Phyllis Bazzari have run city marathons, with Novak running the Nashville and Chicago and Bazzari has run the New York marathon five times. Parks has also run 12 full marathons and close to 50 triathlons. Triathlons are three-part races with sequences from swimming, biking and running and can vary in length. Parks has also done the Ironman, which is a long distance triathalon with a 2.4 mile swim, 112 mile bike race and a 26.2 mile run.

“When I was in college, we went to Brazil and did the Ironman with a bunch of my friends,” Parks said. “It was really fun; we stayed for a month and toured around the whole country.”

With running comes training. Novak joined a team and worked with them a couple of times a week to do group runs and then, on off days, ran anywhere from two to 18 miles a day by himself. Others, like senior Tyler Klund and Eddins, choose to train with Parks, working their way up to 13 miles. Science teacher Christine Schwichtenberg found a training plan for five days a week and then long runs on Saturdays, working up to 13 miles as well.

“I would like to say [training] gets easier over time, but as I get older, [marathons] actually get harder, more taxing on my body,” Novak said.

All the training comes together and the runners get ready at the start line.

“I’m really nervous because there’s so many people,” Klund said. “Usually there’s about 5,000 people at the starting line so it’s really packed. I have butterflies every time.”

Novak thinks everybody should do at least one marathon.

“I think everybody should at least try one in their life. You can always walk it. It might take you several hours, but there’s only a certain percentage of the population that can say they’ve completed a race that is 26.2 miles.”

Most people just enjoy running marathons or half marathons and don’t really have a reason for doing them. They are just fun for the runners.

“I just enjoy doing [marathons],” Parks said. “Everybody that does it is a little bit crazy. There’s really no reason for it.”

–By Tori Nothnagel