For those of you who don't know, Marathon Maniacs is a web site is for people that run marathon and ultra marathons. In order to become a member, you have to meet certain criteria. The "bronze" level requires that you either run 3 marathons in 3 months or 2 marathon within 16 days.
I managed to qualify by doing three marathons (actually 1 50K and 2 marathons) within 51 days. But I also did 2 marathons in 15 days. This was not one of my goals for this year. In fact, joining wasn't on the radar until next year. But was I was looking at my running schedule, I realized that I would qualify. This made me very happy and excited. It ended up being the driving force behind my finish of the Famous Idaho Potato Marathon. I am member number 5445.
But why did I want to qualify for a website that I have to pay to join? What is the point of it? I have been thinking a lot about that the last couple of days since joining. Although joining does have financial benefits (discounts on some marathons), most of the reasons why are less tangetable.
First there is the commemoratory of fellow runners. Although when I started running I never thought about this, but this is a HUGE benefit to running. Fellow runners are some of the nicest and friendlest people you could meet. They are always so supportive no matter what performance level you are on. During my last marathon, I meet a lady that had run the last marathon (two weeks ago) with me. We instantly hit it off as friends, even though I knew nothing about her. There is a special kin-ship that occurs between fellow runners. They are also an immediate support system for running. I already have a great group of friends from DailyMile.com so now I am looking forward to meeting friends from Marathon Manaics.
Another benefit of joining is how it makes me feel. It is a feeling of great accomplishment. I did something that a couple of years ago I would have thought impossible. It makes me feel good that I set a goal, a hard goal, and I stuck with it until I meet that goal. That does more for my self image than anything. I can do anything I put my mind to.
The last benefit is not just from joining Marathon Maniacs but from my continued posting of goals I have meet. I have started to see friends and family doing more and more physical activity. I get a lot of questions from them about running too. I have, through inspiration or guilt, got them to get moving which is great and I am so happy to see that.