Each year, cities, regions, and other organizers around the world host around 3,000 marathons. In large races like the Los Angeles Marathon and the London Marathon, more than half the participants are running a marathon for the very first time.
For Red Hong Yi, an artist based in Malaysia, “a marathon was always one of those impossible things to do,” she told me in an interview, so she decided to “give up my weekends and just go for it.” She ran the 2015 Melbourne Marathon in Australia, her first, after training for six months. Jeremy Medding, who works in the diamond business in Tel Aviv and for whom the 2005 New York City Marathon was his first, said that “there’s always a goal we promise ourselves” and that a marathon was one box he hadn’t ticked. Cindy Bishop, a lawyer in Central Florida, said she ran her first marathon in 2009 “to change my life and reinvent myself.” Andy Morozovsky, a zoologist turned biotech executive, ran the 2015 San Francisco Marathon even though he’d previously never run anywhere close to that distance. “I didn’t plan to win it. I just planned to finish it,” he told me. “I wanted to see what I could do.”
Four people in four different professions living in four different parts of the world, all united by the common quest to run 26.2 miles. But something else links these runners and legions of other first-time marathoners.
Red Hong Yi ran her first marathon when she was 29 years old. Jeremy Medding ran his when he was 39. Cindy Bishop ran her first marathon at age 49, Andy Morozovsky at age 59.