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Reflections on a decade of marathon running

Posted by Ty Velde  March 20, 2011 09:39 PM

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The 2011 Boston Marathon marks a big milestone in my marathon running ďcareer.Ē OK, running marathons is not my full time job, but it's almost like a second career when I think about the amount of time, energy and effort I have put into them over the past 10 years.

Specifically, 2011 will mark my 10th consecutive Boston Marathon and 20th marathon overall. Additionally, and this is maybe a bit of lesser know feat, with this marathon I will have crossed the 500 mile plane in marathon running. Yes, when I cross the finish line in Boston on Monday, April 18 I will have officially run 524 ďmarathon miles.Ē In short, the 2011 Boston Marathon is a particular race that I have thought about for a long time.

It's times like these that make one pause for reflection. I ask myself, how did I get here? When I ran my first marathon in October of 2000 in Chicago, did I ever think Iíd be still doing this 10 years later; let alone preparing for my 10th consecutive Boston race? To be completely honest, the answer is no.

When I reflect on the last ten years, a lot has changed. Iíve lost my job, but then started a successful company. I met a wonderful woman, who later became my wife. Iíve become father to a wonderful little boy and very soon we'll be adding daughter to our family. In short, my life has been full of change over the past 10 years.

However, one constant during the past decade has been the marathon. Iíve been running two per year, one in the fall and Boston in the spring. In a world of constant change, it has proven to be a key anchor.

Itís about long term vision. Itís about goal setting. Itís about dedication. Itís about believing in ďyou.Ē Iím not just talking about the race, but also the journey it takes to get there. No matter how many marathonsí Iíve run, these challenges never subside. They are always there. I guess thatís what makes each individual race so incredibly rewarding, in that itís a constant test of yourself and your being and when you cross the finish line, no matter what your time, youíve won.

Yes, there has been a lot of recent press about how much marathonís have grown in popularity over the past 10 years. In truth, since I started running marathonís in 2000, the number of people crossing the finish line through 2009 has grown by 32 percent (Source: Running USA with Athlinks (2009) and Active.com (2005-08)). Some of this press has been good, some has been negative. But I would like to think that a big reason for the growth in popularity of the sport is that more and more people are discovering today, something I discovered a decade ago.

For me, running a marathon is an incredible experience, not just a race. The experience transcends the race, be it consciously or unconsciously, and the positive qualities it exudes permeate into several aspects of both my personal and professional being. I like to think that itís helped be become a better, stronger and more fulfilled person.

10 years ago, it was truly just about a race. But 10 years later, I know itís so much more than that. Itís why Iím still here today. And God willing, while Iíll continue to run marathons in the years to come.

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Look for updates, news, analysis and commentary from the following.
  • Steve Silva, Boston.com senior producer, two-time Boston Marathon sub-four hour runner.
  • Ty Velde is a 16-time Boston qualifier who's completed 12 consecutive Boston Marathons and 25 marathons overall. Ty is now training for his 13th Boston run and will provide training tips for those who train solo and outside, no matter what temperature it is.
  • Rich 'Shifter' Horgan is a 19-time Dana-Farber Marathon Challenge team member who runs in honor of his father, who died of colon cancer. He will provide updates on local running events with a focus on the charitable organizations that provide Boston Marathon entries for their organization's fund raising purposes

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