Overview of the London Marathon 2021 course with text that says "Six reasons why I am running the London Marathon.

Six reasons to run the London Marathon

There are lots of reasons to run a marathon. They can range from general fitness to very personal reasons.  About two months ago, I learned that I would get to run the London Marathon this fall.  On October 3, 2021, I will get to join approximately 40,000 people running along the Thames River.  For me, running has always been very personal.  There are several reasons to run the London Marathon, however, these are the six reasons why I am running this race.

Reason #1…

The top reason to run the London Marathon is to raise funds for a charity.  Whether you earn your spot as a charity runner or get a number via the ballot, any participant can fundraise for a charity.  The primary reason I am running the London Marathon is to raise funds for The Change Foundation.

About two years ago, I did not know The Change Foundation existed.  In January 2019, my wife Katie & I received an invitation to attend a clinic about blind rugby at the Saitama Prefectural School for the Blind.  At the clinic, I interacted with several athletes with visual impairments.  With the use of vision simulators, I participated in a demonstration match.  The opportunity to play blind rugby (a.k.a. visually-impaired rugby) and listen to the Japanese athletes talk about how it made them feel got me hooked on TCF’s mission to change the lives of marginalized people through sport.

A group of people stand in front of a banner that says "blind rugby" in English and Japanese at the Saitama Prefectural School for the Blind.
The Change Foundation introduced visually impaired rugby to a group of athletes in Japan.

My desire to support the foundation’s mission reached a new level when I learned about the opportunity to be a charity runner in the London Marathon.  I learned about the opportunity when The Change Foundation brought the England visually-impaired (VI) rugby team to Japan to play a pair of exhibition matches against the Japanese VI rugby team during the 2019 Rugby World Cup.  To me, there is nothing more fulfilling than bringing together two great passions to make a difference in the world.

You can donate to The Change Foundation through my fundraising page on Virgin Money Giving.

Reason #2…

Another reason I am running the London Marathon is my interest in completing a marathon.  About a year ago, I set a goal to run a marathon on Japan’s four home islands (read more here).  So far, due to the COVID-19 global pandemic, I have yet to participate in an in-person marathon.  As much as I want to run a marathon on each of Japan’s four main islands, I am equally motivated to complete a marathon.  If that means my first marathon will be elsewhere, then I am up for the challenge.

Reason #3…

A group of runners pass by a large boat with text below that says, "I'm running" with the London Marathon logo beneath.

Yet another reason to run the London Marathon is to complete an Abbott World Marathon Major.  Despite my goal to run a marathon on each of Japan’s four home islands, I had not given much thought about completing any of the world’s “major” marathons.  I am still early in my running life and my goals are constantly evolving.  As such, I have not thought about participating in a “major” marathon.  However, since receiving the news that I will be running the London Marathon I get excited knowing that I will participate in one of the world’s premier marathons.

Reason #4…

If you are an experienced runner, and specifically an experienced marathoner, you know that certain courses yield faster times.  According to Runner’s World, the London Marathon is one of the ten fastest marathon courses in the world.  The world record has been set on the course multiple times.  In 2019, Eliud Kipchoge set the men’s course record at 2:02:37.  Paula Radcliffe set the women’s course record in 2003 at 2:15:25.  Radcliffe’s course record is also the women’s marathon world record in a mixed-gender race.

Reason #5…

Very few runners enjoy running inclines.  As someone who currently lives and runs in a relatively flat area, I revel the opportunity to participate in a race with only a few hills.  The London Marathon may not have the flattest course in the world, but it is among them.  The course starts at 40 meters (131 feet) in elevation before rising to about 50 meters (164 feet) after the first mile.  However, most of the course is about 10 meters (32 feet) in elevation.  Circling the Thames River means that any inclines are minimal, which helps produce speedy PBs for many runners.

Reason #6…

It’s London baby!  Running races is exhilarating, but getting to run in different cities is one of the best parts.  I, like many others, enjoy traveling and exploring new places.  Getting to visit London is exciting on personal level, too.  Hopefully, my wife Katie will join me and get to visit London for the first time in her life.  I will also get to visit London for the first time as an adult.  I visited in the 1980s as a kid with my family and again in the 1990s with my middle school class.  However, visiting London as an adult means I get to experience the city from a different perspective.

Recapping the reasons to run the London Marathon

Running for a charity not only brings in funds for the organization, but also spreads awareness of its work.  There are lots of charities that people do not know about and participating as a charity runner can help raise awareness of their impact on the world.  Runners have different goals, but running in one of the world’s premier marathons is a great opportunity to test an individual’s physical and mental endurance.

People train in various environments, but we all strive to run our best.  Considering the records set on the London Marathon course, I cannot think of a better place to aim for a PB.  Traveling is lots of fun.  However, traveling with your significant other and experiencing some place new together is even better.  Assuredly, there are more than six reasons to run the London Marathon, but London is calling, and I must answer.

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