Why I Run Marathons

Justin Ferguson Boston Marathon 2015
Justin Ferguson crossing the finish line in the 2015 Boston Marathon

By: Justin Ferguson

I could probably do multiple posts on why I run marathons (and likely will), spanning many different reasons and never fully describe all the reasons I run them but below I will go into a few that spring to mind.

In an article by Chris Simon that ran in the Newmarket Era in the lead-up to the 2015 Boston Marathon, I am quoted as saying: “‘What keeps me going is signing up for the next race,’ he [Ferguson] said.” This still begs the questions, Why run?

Years ago when I started running, the reason was simple, to lose weight, and to be healthier, which was good enough for awhile but I am the type of person who wants to continuously set new goals and achieve them.  When I heard a friend was able to complete a marathon, I set out to do the same, which I did, 4 months later.  After-which I took a hiatus from marathoning until in 2012; I was re-inspired by the tales of another friend who had just finished her first one.  That set the wheels in motion for my renewed love of marathon running.

Over the last couple of years I have trained for and ran four marathons (2013 Toronto Waterfront, 2014 Boston, 2014 Marine Corps, 2015 Boston), the last three for charity – twice for Wake Up Narcolepsy in conjunction with Sick Kids Hospital, and once for the Prostate Care Foundation.  Being able to run for charity is certainly a key factor in why I run races today, to be able to support a cause, gives me the motivation I need on the days I don’t want to train, and certainly at those times during the race when I question why I am doing this.

Having the privilege to run marathons is just that, a privilege, we never know when our bodies will say enough is enough or perhaps we will get sick, or perhaps we will no longer be able to persevere through the gruelling training and the race itself.  It is estimated that only about 0.5% [half a percentage] of the U.S. population runs a marathon in any given year, obviously everybody has their reasoning for doing or not doing one but to be part of that elite company is a privilege.  

On top of these factors though, running marathons has taught me so much about myself including, how to persevere, set goals and achieve them, push my body past its limit, and how to overcome.  These are elements that I am able to use in my daily life and for that I am thankful.  However, most importantly it has confirmed my natural belief that anything is possible.  For these reasons, I keep running marathons.

Further, running marathons has allowed me to see why studies find marathon runners make better CEOs; it teaches discipline, perseverance, goal setting, etc. Laura Entis of Entrepreneur.com wrote a story called: Marathon Runners Make Better CEOs, Study Finds.  In the article Laura outlines how, “Companies helmed by marathon runners, the study found, were 5 percent more valuable than those led by non-“fit” executives even after controlling for CEO, firm and governance characteristics, past performance and firm fixed effects.”  

Despite all these reasons why I run marathons, one that I did not mention but I will end with, is I run because I can and because I enjoy it.

Justin Ferguson is the Principal of Cosmos Strategies, the Founder of aSmarterWay.life, an avid marathoner, a supporter of charities, including: Wake Up Narcolepsy and Sick Kids Hospital, and a believer that anything is possible.