Why I’m Starting a Marathon in 2020
Phil Dumontet, Februrary 2020
Marathons: love them, hate them, yearn for them, write them off as complete insanity; it doesn’t matter what you think, they are here to stay. They require consistent, hard work - a minimum training cycle of 3 months if you’re already a runner, yet still achievable if you’ve never run a mile in your life. They are not as daunting as your ultra-running friend who cranks out a 100k for her weekend fun, but it is the ultimate distance. On the Running Continuum, the Marathon sits fairly in the middle - not many will make it here, but it is the distance for which all races, whether it is a half or ultra, are pegged. If it ended at 20 miles, you’d be happy, but those extra 6 miles are what make you proud. This is the Marathon.
I have been fortunate enough to run 12 marathons, but I’m constantly yearning for more. The 26.2 is the most powerful theater of human inspiration that I’ve ever experienced. When I run a marathon, I feel challenged and inspired; nervous and excited; ready and willing. I’ve spent months preparing and have taught myself the power of discipline. While I’m running the race, I experience those negative thoughts that I cannot do this, but for each negative, my runner’s high brings me three more positive ones, and I continue striding towards the finish.
There hasn’t been a single race where I haven’t cried at the finish. I was never sad. As I wrote in Runners World, it is always 100%, pure joy. When I cross the line, I feel like I can do anything: like I can accomplish whatever I set my mind to - because wow, I just did: that’s the power of 26.2. When there is nothing left to give, gas tank emptied, freshly crossed the finish line, when I should feel the worst, I feel the most alive.
If you’re lucky enough to run the TCS NYC Marathon, you’re just one of 50,000 people being corralled like barn animals, but there is no other moment in which you are more human. It is the sweaty nerves even though its 45 degrees outside; the calm of runners around you amidst the chaos of New York City; and the wave of overwhelming excitement you didn’t think you’d have until you hear the gun go off. It’s the full body tingles as you cross the Start Line, while you simultaneously cannot feel your body at all.
Training for and completing a Marathon spills over into all other areas of life; to consistently train when you do not want to, when the cheer squad is just whatever music is on your Airpods, and there’s no medal at the end, requires tenacity. It’s the kind of quality that makes me a great business owner, husband, and dog dad. It helps me solve conflict and push towards longer term goals.
Unlike other sporting events, Elites and Citizen Runners alike cross the same start and finish lines; run the same exact course; and feel that same victory at the end because even if you are in 50,000th place, you still just did something only 1% of the population will ever do. We run together and we run strong, we run at whatever pace we trained for, and most of all, we run proud.
It’s for this reason, that in 2020 when there are 570 marathons in the U.S., there is still so much more of a need to bring people together in their hometowns for amazing marathon experiences. 5ks and 10ks are incredibly special, but there is something about the joy of a marathon, for runners and spectators alike, that is extraordinary.
This entrepreneurial pursuit isn’t to be the Uber of X, but rather, to bring a community together around movement in its truest, oldest form. It’s full-scale human experience-making in a city that is producing some of the best tech in the country. It’s about creating a memory that we all share in our collective memory. It’s a date and goal to look forward to every year, to train for and to challenge yourself beyond what you think you’re capable of. It’s about bringing thousands of strong individuals together as a community in a premier endurance event.
Yes, it is 2020 and I’ve heard every reason in the book why I’m crazy to do it, but I’m starting a marathon in my hometown, one of the great health meccas of the U.S. that still does not have a downtown marathon.
It’s called the Boulderthon. Join us at the starting line and let’s see how profoundly human, how profoundly beautiful, how magical, how inspiring the Marathon can be.
Phil Dumontet is a 12-time marathon runner with a 2:55 PR. A Forbes 30 Under 30 entrepreneur, Phil, along with wife Alexa, launched the first USDA organic blend bars in Colorado.