Why runners push themselves and participate in running endurance races

To others, runners may appear to be an unusual lot – they take part in endurance race after race, appearing to “torture” themselves while doing so. Immediately after races, marathoners and ultra runners may even have trouble walking too, something that non-runners may find strange.


Why do runners keep participating in races?

And many runners are not content with simply doing one or two marathons and hanging up their running shoes. Rather, they keep on signing up for race after race, and going through the same feeling of so-called torture and torment, each time.

But why do they do race after race? Here is what some runners say.

To better my timing

Said avid marathoner and ultra runner, Lee Kok Whee, 44, “For me, the reason for signing up over and over again, is an effort to better the timing for the previous run.”

Added Lee, an assistant financial controller, “Also, I have to admit that having a finisher tee that says I completed 42km was also something that I can wear and show off when I started. But over time, that attraction has diminished though.”

Challenging oneself and pushing one’s personal limits

For other runners, the addictive nature of the sport is the challenge of doing something that you may not have thought that you could do – regardless of whether it is a 5km fun run or a 100km ultra.

Said Max Woon, 35, an assistant manager, “Other than the physical aspect, running and pushing one’s own personal limits are mentally challenging too – and the sensation is indescribable, when you succeed.”

Gives you the feel-good factor upon completion

Fellow runner Serene Xu, 27, who works in administration, agreed that running races certainly give you that feel-good factor each time one crosses the finishing line at a major running event.

She said, “Some people may think that we are wasting money to join races or they just say that you can run by yourself. But I feel that running races are a good experience. If you never run a race, you won’t be able to experience the euphoria – and running by yourself simply does not bring the same feelings.”

Don’t have to think about the logistics because they are all provided

Added Harold Alcala, 37, a software developer, “Unlike a normal practice session or a solo run, there’s hydration along the way – not to mention the nice, cold isotonic drinks. There are also medics that could help you just in case. Also, bananas and gels are provided in long distance races, such as marathons. So you don’t have to think about bringing your own.”

Conquering the pain barrier

As well, the feeling of outdoing yourself by conquering the pain barrier also contributes to the addictive nature of signing up for more and more races – because you want to experience this feeling over and over again.

Said Nielsen Ho, 47, a purchaser, “When we run, the pain just lasts for a moment. The achievement of completing the distance lasts for the whole life. Never give up on any race when the going gets tough – you will feel so great at the finishing line and be proud of yourself.”

Agreed Alcala, “The pain will always be there and as a runner, you can’t get away from it. So just deal with it.”

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