I ran a marathon.
It’s still weird to say, even four days later. Six months ago, I don’t think anyone would have thought I’d be running in a marathon. I’d have been surprised if someone told me I could run more than a mile at a single time. And now, not only have I run a marathon, I met every goal I had set.
I ran a total of 366 miles over the nearly 15 weeks I trained. That’s over 60 hours of pure running itself, which doesn’t include the hours spent stretching and prepping for my runs. Crossing the finish line 4:56.33 after I first started my run, I narrowly beat my goal of coming in under five hours. Having raised nearly $1,700 on my website and a little extra in offline donations, I not only nearly doubled the goal I set on my site, I more than tripled what I thought I could realistically hope to raise for SCNO by doing this.
And the truth is, the thing that sticks out most to me looking back at the course of my running has nothing to do with any of that—it’s the tremendous support I received not just from friends and family but from the community around me and people I didn’t even know but that were simply interested in seeing me succeed. Going into my training, I underestimated just how difficult it’d be to do this on my own. What kept me going was the genuine outpouring of support that met me, whether it was a donation, a comment on my Facebook, or sharing the news of what I was trying to do with others.
To top it all off, I could not have wished for the run to go better. The weather looked as if it might be a trouble with dark skies and the streets already soaked from early morning rains. But the rain held off and the cool breeze was the perfect temperature for a 26.2 mile stroll. My right leg had been sore all week leading into the race and was causing me trouble in even my short runs. I’d been resting and icing all week, and finally, on Saturday the pain had gone. And my plan for the run worked out just as I had set out in my head, not needing to take a brief walking break until the seventeenth mile, which I had hoped would keep me on pace to break the five hour mark.
Running a marathon is a pretty surreal experience once you’re actually doing it. You run and run throughout your training but it’s just no comparison. There’s no real good way to explain it without having someone experience it for themselves, but there’s just something special about the atmosphere when thousands of people are surround you and an entire community comes together around a single event, lining the course with signs, cheers, and encouragement that genuinely makes a difference at mile 21 when you’ve gone so far but know you still have an hour of running ahead of you. I just remember having nearly finished the first mile and turning onto Green Street (which for those non U of I people, is the main street in campus town) and just being stunned—it was such a cool sight to see literally thousands of people ahead of me and thousands more behind me, covering every inch of arguably one of the busiest streets on campus and being right in the middle of it. Crossing the finish line was the icing on the cake.
For so long, it was “I’m going to run a marathon” followed by a brief hesitation, almost as if to let it hit me and sink in. Finally, it’s “I ran a marathon”—no hesitation, no doubt. My campaign to aid a nonprofit community that needs it and provide a new kind of service to organizations was more successful than I could have asked for and that’s thanks to you, the readers who helped push my story and keep me going. Thank you, truly, for helping me accomplish this goal I had set out to do.
And now, over the next few days and with time running out, I’ll make my last few appeals to readers—there’s still time left! There are five days left on the fundraiser page’s timeline and five days left to make your contribution to the campaign and achieve true impact on a community that needs your help. I worked so hard for so long to make this happen and now that it’s coming to an end, I think I’m finally starting to realize what a difference this can make.
Now’s your chance. Visit my fundraiser page today and contribute to the campaign today—every donation makes a difference. Post my website, www.jordyruns.com, on your Facebook, your Twitter, your G-Chat status, or any other place you possibly can. Let’s help spread the cause.