Thursday, May 8, 2008

Mainstream movement

I found this article to be pretty good in dealing with why we marathon. They attribute the start of the marathon boom to Oprah Winfrey running the Marine Corp Marathon in 1994.

For runners like Alltucker, the journey will end four hours later. Or five, or maybe six. Long after the elite runners have headed home, people will keep crossing the finish line.

For them, the Eugene Marathon isn’t about winning.

“Finishing is the goal,” says Joe Henderson, a longtime running advocate and coach who has written 27 books on the subject. “It’s more a survival test than it is a race.”

In 1976, 25,000 people finished American marathons. By 1980, there were 143,000. Last year, 412,000 completed the 26.2-mile race. And according to Ryan Lamppa, a researcher for Running USA, which tracks participation, the trend continues upward.

“There’s a pent-up demand,” Lamppa says.

What you’ve got is a boom. And now, for the second year, it’s come to Eugene, where we’ve run for decades. And where most of us are used to seeing those elite greyhounds glide over the trails, moving much faster than most people could ever hope.

We know why those guys run, but what is it about the marathon that attracts the rest of us?

“There’s not one answer,” Lamppa says.

Enjoy the full article from the Register Guard of Eugene, Oregon about their marathon.

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