Beyond Limits

Don’t think that because you don’t run marathons (or maybe you do), that this story isn’t about you. You were my inspiration, so please read on.



Until I participated in my first ultra-marathon, I took endurance for granted. No, I didn’t actually run an ultra-marathon, but served as a support person, assisting a runner who took on the challenge of completing her first 100-mile ultra. Knowing I had 18 to 24 hours until she would finish gave me a lot of free time to think. As I watched other support teams set up runner (and spectator) aid stations, greeting each other as old friends, I could tell they were old hands at supporting and spectating endurance athletes.


I watched in awe as athletes pushed themselves beyond the limits of “normal” humans. Sure, they had trained for the event, but physical training only takes the athlete through so many miles before heart and soul close the gap for which training couldn’t prepare the body.


Recently, I supported another friend as she faced her first 50-mile challenge. Describing an endurance event to non-athletes drew puzzled looks, “Why would anyone put themselves through that?”


For the 51 weeks of the year I wasn’t watching an endurance sport, I watched other forms of endurance. Christopher Reeve said, “I think a hero is an ordinary individual who finds the strength to persevere and endure in spite of overwhelming obstacles. They are the real heroes, and so are the families and friends who have stood by them.”



His statement describes the very people who ask me why an athlete would compete in an endurance sport – my friends and family who endure day in and day out, in events that may or may not be of their choosing. A family member who undergoes chemotherapy week after week, year after year. Colleagues who give their heart and soul, working at a job, not because it brings satisfaction, but because it pays the bills. Those caring for loved ones who need help. Couples who stay in a relationship because that’s what you do, for the kids, for expectations, because you can’t conceive of any other option. Then there is the friend who works 14 hours a day or more to build up a business according to her principles and ideals.

shutterstock_326956712All forms of endurance, exercised by people determined to, “…withstand hardship or adversity…” to accomplish short- and long-term goals.


Way to go — You are almost there — You got this!


The rest of us try to support you as we watch you push yourself beyond limits we think we could not possibly endure. We try to help with the burden, give words of encouragement, be a sounding board, offer options (as if we think  you will shift focus from your goal). We are your support team; let us help because we love you.


We know we are watching something truly amazing.



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