There Are Not Many Things Worse Than Running a Marathon. Or Is There?

This weekend is the Philadelphia Marathon, a 26.2 mile run through America’s greatest city.

Over 30,000 people compete in the race which winds its way through some of the most historic places in the United States.

But apparently, it’s not for everyone.

A poll sponsored by Advil and Harris found that 28% of Americans would rather give up social media for a year, about 20% would rather suffer through a root canal, and 21% would rather disclose their weight to coworkers than run a marathon.

It’s a strange collection of items to compare to running a marathon, and it seems like the way the results are presented makes running a marathon sound like the worst activity a person could possibly engage in.

I’d gladly run a marathon instead of giving up social media or going through a root canal, and I could care less about telling my coworkers my weight (it’s between 100 and 300 pounds). In fact, I’d run the marathon even if I weren’t offered such alternatives.

There is, of course, another way to look at the results.

80% of those surveyed would run the marathon so they could keep their social media; 80% would rather run a marathon than have a root canal, and 79% would run the marathon so that they would not have to reveal their weight.

These results seem to indicate that a marathon isn’t as bad as one might think.

Heck, even I’ve run one, way back in 1989 when it was a simple three-loop run around the Schuylkill River. It had to be one of the flattest marathons ever raced.

So I think rather than painting a poor view of runners, the survey seems to point to how bad a root canal is. If faced with a root canal or running a marathon, 79% would pick the marathon (so there dentists!).

As for social media, the results seem to indicate that people are addicted to it. 72% would prefer to run the marathon and keep the Internet.

And as far as the weight thing is concerned, here is my range again: between 50 and 350 pounds. 79% of correspondents would run the marathon and not care if their weight is revealed.

So I’m not really sure what the point of the poll was. If the poll was meant to be released the same time as the Marathon weekend in order to attract attention, then I am not sure that happened.

I’m also not sure why so many people want to avoid running a marathon. I wonder if it’s the same 20% core of people who are opting out of the marathon for any of the alternatives noted. My guess is that if you were willing to give up social media for a year instead of running a marathon, you’re probably also likely to rather have a root canal or disclose your weight.

So if you got inspired by seeing or reading stories about participants in the Philly marathon, and want to do one yourself, then go to your local library and check out a running book.

And if you do run the marathon, you don’t have to give up on social media, get a root canal, or tell your co-workers you’re weight.

In fact, why not take a selfie of all three – the marathon, the root canal, the weight reveal, and post it on all social media. That way, you get maximum exposure for all your dislikes in one fell swoop.

13 thoughts on “There Are Not Many Things Worse Than Running a Marathon. Or Is There?

  1. Thanks for the laughs. I like to exercise, but I’ve never been a runner. In fact, just once I liked to experience this “runner’s high” that I hear about. When I run (something that happens with less frequency these days) I absolutely hate it every time! How’s that for a testimonial?

    It’s ironic because even though I run less, I exercise more than I ever did when I was working. Most of my exercise comes from going to the gym, walking, and swimming. I guess that is about as close to a “runner’s high” as I’ll ever get. When I take a couple of days off, my body starts craving some exercise. I do know I feel better physically and mentally, and I’ve lost a lot of weight. Feeling better is the only motivation I need to keep me going.


  2. As a veteran runner… if you run a marathon, you probably don’t need to fret about sharing your weight. I always saw it as the race itself was a prize/reward for all the hard work and miles you put in training for it. I don’t know about others, but I would run 24 miles, two weeks before a race. What’s 2.2 more miles? For me, it was about the discipline to train. And Jim, the Myrtle Beach race is pretty darn flat also.


  3. I never considered running a marathon. I don’t think I have the physical endurance to sustain. I would just give up my social media for a year, as I only have Instagram 😂😂


  4. I’ve been pushed to do marathon since my childhood that now as an adult I’d rather not do it. If it’s for keeping my weight in check then I’ll roll out my exercise mat and do a 1h workout.
    But I do get you too. The statistic percentage you show of whys and why not made me smile 😀


  5. Fun post! My daughter just ran her 3rd marathon…it’s something I can’t fathom. (Though I did come in 4th place in our 1 mile Teacher Turkey Trot today. Just add a few more hours, and I’m golden.) Goodbye social media and hello root canal! I’m just going to forget that you mentioned weight.


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