First-Time Marathoners Bolstered By The Crowd

  • By Duncan Larkin
  • Published Jul. 27, 2011
  • Updated Jul. 27, 2011 at 10:50 AM UTC
Many first-time marathoners complete the 26.2-mile race by running with friends. Photo: Foxnews

Many first-time marathoners complete the 26.2-mile race by running with friends. Photo: Foxnews

One 40-year-old couldn’t have finished it without her friends.

For most, the marathon appears to be a solitary event: one runner braving all those long miles. Not so for Tracy Eldred. After a long debate, she decided to take what she calls a “leap” and signed up for her first marathon. She decided to do it with three friends from her Chapel Hill, North Carolina social circle.

In May, she completed the Vermont City Marathon.

“If I was doing it on my own, I doubt I would have ever done a marathon,” she admitted.

Eldred says she was a serious runner for three years, but had never come close to 26.2 miles.

“After the half-marathon mark, I had that ‘uh-oh’ moment,” she said. “It’s one of the most difficult things besides childbirth that I’ve ever done.”

Many first-timers are reaching out to coaches like former U.S. Olympian Jeff Galloway for assistance. Galloway has coached over 300,000 runners since he started out. He’s had a 98 percent success rate. One thing Galloway suggests, and this has generated some controversy, is to walk during training and the marathon.

“If you’re running a 10-minute mile, you use a three to one ratio, which can be whatever you want—you can run 60 seconds and walk 20 seconds, or run three minutes and walk one minute,” he said.

For More: Fox News

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Duncan Larkin

Duncan Larkin

Duncan Larkin is the news editor at and a freelance journalist who’s been covering the sport of running for over five years. He’s run 2:32 in the marathon and won the Himalayan 100-Mile Stage Race in 2007. His first running book, RUN SIMPLE, was released last July.

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