When it comes to running a marathon, whether it’s your first or your fiftieth, it’s essential to have a strong support network around you.
Speaking from no experience at all – the closest thing to a marathon I’ve come was the sack race at primary school – but having people around you to cheer you on, encourage you along the way and make sure you get over that finish line are hugely important aspects of the race.
It’s arguable as well, that these things are even more important to the runners who aren’t way out in front of everyone. Being at the back, last in the race – speaking from experience this time – can make it even easier to give up.
So when two women were bringing up the tail end of the Pittsburgh Marathon earlier this week, they knew they needed to help each other out and get across the finish line together.
Laura Mazur, from Ohio, and Jessica Robertson, from Pennsylvania, met halfway through the marathon, and realised they were the last two runners in the pack. To help overcome the challenge that lay ahead of them, they vowed to help each other make it to the end.
As Mazur said, via CBS Pittsburgh:
I looked back to see if I was the last one and found another racer and a new friend. I told her I’d stay with her if she stayed with me.
It was Laura’s 12th marathon, and Jessica’s first, but the two were helping each other when it came to finishing the race hand in hand.
I thought to myself, I’m not going to make it. There’s literally no one else out here but me and I can’t do this by myself, I just can’t.
[Laura] said, ‘I’ll make you a promise. I won’t leave you if you don’t leave me. And no matter what, we will cross [the finish line] together.’ And I said, ‘Well, I won’t leave you because I can’t do this alone’
Daniel Heckert, who had finished the race, made his way back to the cheer station to encourage those still running.
They could have given up. They could’ve said, the sweep vehicle’s right behind us, we hurt too much, we’ve got too far to go. There’s nobody around them. They did this by themselves. Where everybody else has a crowd to go through, they spent the majority of this, the two of them together
Inspirational – and motivational – stuff.
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Charlie Cocksedge is a journalist at UNILAD. He graduated from the University of Manchester with an MA in Creative Writing, where he learnt how to write in the third person, before getting his NCTJ. His work has also appeared in such places as The Guardian, PN Review and the bin.