1. You will not get a finisher’s medal. You will think about this constantly until you eventually sign up for another marathon, complete it, and get your hardware. You might as well just stick it out now. Do you really want to suffer those blisters and that chafing again?
2. Your family members waiting for you at the finish line will be REALLY confused when you don’t show up.
3. If you finish, you will have burned roughly 3,000 calories. AKA you can eat WHATEVER YOU WANT, GUILT FREE!
4. Significant others of marathon finishers really like to baby said marathon finisher. So suck it up and cross that finish line; back rubs, foot rubs, and your temporary butler await you.
5. If you don’t finish, it is possible that when people Google your name, they will see the race results, and they will see your name in the “Did Not Finish” column. Do you want your potential future boss to know you are a quitter?
6. Marathon post-race parties often include lots of free stuff. Like beer. I just ran the Medical Mutual Glass City Marathon in Toledo. Sure, I got come cookies and a banana, but I also got a beer stein and two free beers. The 26.2 miles of agony was WELL worth it.
7. If you quit, you will fee horribly embarrassed on Monday at work when your co-workers ask how your race went and you have to concede that you gave up and did not cross that line.
8. Most races have an announcer to read off racers’ names over a loud speaker as they cross the finish line. It is an incredible feeling not to be missed.
9. You will feel like a fool wearing your official marathon technical shirt that you received at packet pick up if you do not actually complete the race.
10. Marathon medals are awesome. You want one. Keep running.
11. It will be incredibly awkward when you post a million selfies of yourself at the start line gushing how “PuMpEd” you are for the race, but then no pictures of your glorious finish.
12. 5, 10, or 15 years from now when you have a child who wants to quit his T-ball team or her dance class, and you tell him or her NO WAY, THIS FAMILY DOESN’T QUIT, you will know deep down that you are in fact a hypocrite because your toes never did quite make it to the end of your race way back when.
13. Giving up means you will miss out on all of the great signs! Along marathon courses, the most creative of folk seem to plant themselves with hilarious and motivating signs. Keep running and keep your eyes peeled for things like: “Your feet hurt because you are kicking so much butt!”, “If a marathon was easy, it would be called your mother.”, and “Because 26.3 would be crazy”
14. Maybe your boyfriend (or girlfriend) is waiting at the finish line on one knee with a large, sparkly diamond. If you give up, you’ll never know! (As an aside, if you keep running, feel free to start thinking about how adorable the pictures will be (you’ve never been fitter in your life!), and mentally practice how you’ll put your hand over your mouth and cock your neck slightly to the right (or should it be to the left?) so the photographer your boyfriend enlisted to cover the whole proposal (he’s so smart!) captures you at your best angle. Then, of course, you can start choosing your wedding colors, who you know with kids young enough to be your flower girls and ring bearer, what flavor cake you’d like, and how to convince your parents to spring for the open bar. All of these thoughts will carry you AT LEAST through a good three miles.)
15. It will truly be a miserable car ride home if you do not finish. If you drive yourself home, you won’t be able to think about anything else. And, your phone will still be blowing up with both “GOOD LUCK!” (it’s been six hours, but your mom doesn’t exactly understand that you were hoping for a 4:10 finish and should have been done long ago) and “SO HOW WAS IT??????? AMAZING?? YOU’RE MY HERO!” texts (your friends are hungover and just now rolling out of bed; you wish you were in the same place) If you have someone else to drive you home, an awkward silence will fall upon you, or you will inevitably bore your driver to tears overanalyzing why your pansy ass decided to quit.
16. If you quit, you will miss out on free, tasty Gu. That stuff is EXPENSIVE, and throughout the marathon course it is plentiful and FREE.
17. If you don’t finish, when the marathon sends out an email a week after the race notifying participants that race day photos are finally online and ready for purchase, you will sadly page through all 8,000 before realizing that none of the photos are of you. Because you quit.
18. All of that spaghetti you ate the night before because you were “carbo-loading?” Well, it will now stick with you. You won’t burn it off, and it will beautifully affix itself to your stomach and thighs.
19. Unless you are actively vomiting or bleeding from multiple locations, walking off the course into a throng of spectators will feel really embarrassing. Just keep running instead!
20. You likely got yourself out of bed before 5am to get to the starting line in time. That was the hardest part. Don’t give up and waste that accomplishment!
21. If you stop running, you won’t be able to feel like you’re a little bit better than all of your friends who run half marathons. After all, technically they are only half as strong, tough, and perseverant as you!
22. Running shoes should be replaced about every 300 miles. A marathon gets you 1/12th of the way to a new pair of running shoes! Don’t give up!!! Haven’t you seen the beautiful new Brooks? And those ASICS! Keep running for the shoes! (You can spend a good mile debating internally which brand and model you should invest in next!)
23. If you quit, you may not make it to the best part of your “MARATHON PLAYLIST 2014!!!” What’s that, you ask? Well, of course you created a playlist before the race, timed to finish EXACTLY as you cross the finish line. If you don’t finish, you may miss the Britney, the Ke$ha, and the Eminem (“success is your only motha f*ckin option, failure’s not!”). For the next week, at least, when you hear these songs, you will have to turn them off, and the painful memories of walking off the course will rush back. Not worth it. Keep running!
24. Giving up means you won’t get to say “I TOLD YOU SO” to everyone who doubted you. Don’t give them that satisfaction!
25. Many races these days have a mobile app that allows fans to track runners with live updates throughout the marathon. If you walk off before crossing the fancy tracking platform at mile 14, your parents, who had enough of a hard time installing and opening the app, will think you died (or at least fainted.) You should spare your parents that pain and heart break and just keep pushing on instead.
26 – 26.2. Honestly, during a marathon, mile 26 through mile 26.2 is a magical time filled with pain, pride, fatigue, energy, blaring crowd support, overwhelming inner calm and silence, sweat, tears, and indescribable feelings of accomplishment. The feelings that come over a runner during these last .2 miles are reason enough to make it through to the very end.