What is the furthest you’ve ever run? Five kilometresat your local Parkrun? Further than that? Can you imagine running 42.2 kilometresin a full marathon? It seems like an impossibly long way to go. Yet every year millions of ordinary people with full schedules and busy jobs cross the finish line and achieve just that.

Taking on a marathon is a tough ask. There’s weeks of training filled with early mornings, sore feet, and aching muscles. And that’s all before you even line up on race day. The obvious question is why anyone would willingly choose to do something so difficult.

Running makes you feel good. Whether you jog for 10 minutes or hit the road for an hour, you’ll feel a greater sense of wellbeing. No matter what pace you’re going, running will improve your mood and help you deal with the stresses of everyday life. Don’t take our word for it though; the only way to know for sure is to try it for yourself.

You’ll sleep like a baby. If you’ve ever had to count sheep you’ll know that insomnia is no fun.  There’s a substantial body of scientific evidence that says making exercise part of your regular routine can contribute to healthier, more restful sleep. What’s not to like?

Your heart will thank you.This one needs almost needs no explanation. In general, the more people run, the healthier they (and their hearts) tend to be. The best news is that you don’t have to run for hours on end to enjoy the benefits. According to one study, running just five minutes per day could add years to your life.

You can afford a cheat meal (or three). If you’re training for a marathon you can indulge in in your favourite sweet treat guilt-free. Just one hour of running can burn as much as 600 calories. Great news if you love pasta as much as we do.

Running is for everyone.Unlike a lot of sports, you don’t need to splurge on expensive equipment to get started. All it takes is a pair of shoes, shorts, a tee, and you’re good to go. In 2017, 85-year-old South African Deidre Larkin broke the World Half Marathon Record in the women over 75 age category. She took up running after she was diagnosed with osteoporosis at the age of 77.

As every marathoner knows, running can be a deeply satisfying, happy and fulfilling experience  – and the feeling of finishing your first race is something you’re unlikely to ever forget. It might even change your life.

If you’re inspired to take the first step then be sure to join us at the Mall of the North Marathon on 30 March at 6am from the overflow parking area. Not only will runners have the opportunity to qualify for the Comrades Marathon, but friends and family have a great reason to get together to show their support or participate in the half marathon, 10km or 5km fun run.  Enter online today at www.entrytime.com  or at Mall of the North from 22 March until race day.

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