17 reasons to run a marathon

Why? Why would you run 42.195 kilometres if you didn’t have to? We asked Run Ottawa members what was their “why” when choosing the marathon distance and the answers varied from fun, to fitness, to fundraising:


“Given the joy, the self-esteem, the confidence in self we get from a simple run, testing all our limits through the endurance of a marathon is nothing but miraculous – physical health benefits, mental health benefits and the best confidence booster in the world. As we train for the marathon, we see improvements in our body and mind we otherwise thought were impossible. Our mood and self-esteem improves; we build lasting relationships with strangers (aka fellow runners); our body transforms into endurance machines and we get a natural ‘high’ from pushing ourselves that keeps us coming back to the challenge (yet, joy) of running 42.2 kilometres. Despite the hardships we might face during our training and, unfortunately on race day (e.g., injuries, disappointing finishes, etc.), we’re ready to pick up the pieces and get back at it, just to do all over again…just for the love of the sport and the personal, physical and mental challenge of completing the marathon. It doesn’t get much better than that!”

Da Veed

“It started off for me by being told that I couldn’t. So I had to. And then it eventually turned into something more, something about myself and the way I feel. It’s fun and it’s hard and it changes you in so many ways.”

Tegan Chappell

“I started running marathons because I just love running mountains.”

Dave McMahon

“It gives me time for me. I get lots of time to “run” things through my head and work through the stress of life. I get a chance to leave my stress and issues on the road and come back ready to face the next ones.”

Karen Beutel

“Because I live / love the challenge. I’m not a terribly gifted runner, and every marathon is just really hard. So maybe I require that feeling of, “I pushed past whatever my ‘uncomfortable’ is. Must love it as I’ve done quite a few…and plan on doing 100 marathons before I hit 100 (I’m at 70 done approx now).”

Jeannie Carter

“Because it is easier to run farther than to run faster.”

Annie Thinks

“The thing I love about ultra marathons is that I know there will be lows, but I’ve learned how to just accept them and wait them out. The lows always end. It’s a great life lesson.”

Kristi Raz


Dawn Mullin

“I love the challenge that the marathon presents. Physical and mental. The extended training period needed to run one, the anticipation of race day, I love all of that. I ran my first Ottawa Marathon in 2001 and have run it every year since. I know that training for and running marathons made me a better teacher. I love, love, love those last 400m along the canal to the finish line. Beyond just Ottawa, I’ve crossed 30 marathon finish lines and each one has left me with a great feeling of accomplishment, no matter my time.”

David Dazé

“I used to do it to keep fit, get out of the house and burn off work and life stresses. Plus, I’m a masochist.”

Raymond Prénoveau

“Why not…?”

Lori Fallows

“Training to run longer distances gives me more time to chat with my friends. I often plan multiple segment long runs to accommodate people who aren’t training for a marathon or ultra but who I want to run with.”

Barbara Dundas

“I think, at the time, it seemed like the next step. I’ve done 3, not sure I’ll do another, but you never know.”

Vicki Bencze

“Keeps me younger.”

Ben-Zion Caspi

“I’ve done five marathons and 27 half-marathons and I’m still trying to figure out why! In the meantime I just keep running…”

Suzann Townend

“For me, it’s charity fundraising. My family, friends and colleagues get behind the effort, and it does good things for people who need it.”

Tracy Shouldice

“For some reason I decided I wanted to fundraise for Team Diabetes, travel to Iceland and oh, run this unknown thing called a ‘marathon’.”

Andy Coughlin


Thanks to all the Run Ottawa members who shared their reasons why with us. Have they inspired you? Register for the Ottawa Marathon and be a part of Canada’s largest and fastest marathon. One of two World Athletics Gold Label marathon events in Canada and one of Canada’s largest Boston Qualifiers. This race attracts thousands of participants, including a world-class contingent of pro-athletes every year.

Register for the Ottawa Marathon here.