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The 7 emotional stages of running a marathon

The London Marathon 2018 is coming up quickly, and this year we’ve got a fantastic group of runners taking part in aid of Concern. We’ve got years of experience cheering on our incredible supporters from the side-lines, and some Concern staff have even taken part themselves, so we know all too well the various emotional stages that marathon running brings with it…

*warning* may cause emotional distress or feelings of breathlessness and triumph.

1. Enthusiasm


Rightio, and OFF you go. You’re feeling great, energised and ready to take on the challenge with full force! In fact, you’re so confident there’s some part of you that believes you could win the whole thing. With a spring in your step you wonder what could ever go wrong…


2. Regretful realisation


That is, until you realise it’s only mile 4 and you’re already knackered…with another 22.2 miles to go. Thinking to yourself ‘what have I done?’ dread begins to descend and slowly but surely your pace begins to lag…along with your enthusiasm.

3. Emotional (and physical) pain


By mile 12, it isn’t just the legs that are hurting. It’s the stomach, arms, soul and heart that hurt too. Oh, and the emotional distress that comes with forcing yourself to continue with what can only be described as self-inflicted torture. You wish it was raining so that your tears would be camouflaged.

4. Indifference


By mile 18, you’re so emotionally exhausted that indifference sets in. You’ve had enough of paying attention to that pain in your calf or that voice in your head telling you to keep going, that you’ve become numb. Inside, and out. So instead of crying, it’s the scary unresponsiveness that keeps you going – because, after all, if you don’t care, it can’t hurt you. *Blank face*

5. Determination


“If he can do it in fancy dress, I can do it in normal clothes!”

Mile 22 arrives, by which point you’ve been overtaken by someone dressed a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle and a man carrying a fridge. And you’ve HAD ENOUGH! You trained for a reason, and YOU CAN DO THIS! As determination descends, your speed quickens…and OFF YOU GO AGAIN!

Take that, fridgey.

6. Exhaustion


You didn’t believe it was possible to be this tired and still be going. You’re certain that at any point, your body will collapse or spontaneously combust. But it doesn’t. You wonder if you’ll ever be able to walk, think or smile again. But then even wondering becomes too tiring…the only thing worth thinking about is that finish line.

7. Triumph


Ahhhhh AHHHHHHH AHHHHH! YOU DID IT! The feeling of utter triumph makes you think you could do it all over again (think, not actually do…) The mixture of happiness and exhaustion has you practically in tears, but when you think about what you’ve just achieved – what mental and physical strength it took to complete – you can’t help but smile.

Now, time for a cuppa, a mountain of food and much deserved massage!

*Weeeee are the champions*  


If you wonder what it would be like to experience all of these emotions within the space of a few hours, or, just really love running (or Concern!) why not run the London Marathon for us next year? You can register your interest here.