5 reasons to run the Global Marathon

AbbottWMM's Danny Coyle explains why he became a convert to virtual marathons after running one himself

Full disclosure: I never wanted to run a virtual race, let alone a full marathon. The prospect of plodding through 26.2 miles with no roaring crowds or phalanx of fellow runners around me to offer nuggets of motivation and fistfuls of jelly sweets was far from appealing.

Then came the pandemic - a hard stop for in-person racing. Running alone was the new normal, and the challenge for us was to create new ways for runners to stay active and connected.

Cue the Global Run Club and, in turn, the Global Marathon. After seeing the passion and energy so many runners had poured into their Global Marathon races in May 2021, I was convinced to end my eight-year separation from the marathon distance, and signed up for the November edition.

I followed Coach Kastor’s training plan and, incredibly, I was in shape to actually run the thing. You can find out how I got on here. It was a much more enjoyable experience than I had expected, and incredibly rewarding to have taken up the challenge and seen it through.

As a virtual marathon, some of the key differences to running an in-person race actually turned out to be major advantages to me, so here are my top five reasons you should consider signing up for the next one.

  1. No start time stress
    We have all heard the stories of runners stuck on trains or in traffic trying to get to the start in time. You can burn a lot of nervous energy worrying about your plans for race morning travel. Your Global Marathon takes all of that away. Wake up when you want, eat when you feel like eating and step out of the door when you are good and ready. The feeling of control over the pre-race clock is a luxury that made my race morning feel relaxed and simple.
  1. No toilet trouble
    If there is one universal truth to running a marathon it’s that you’ll want to avail yourself of the conveniences before the gun goes. Probably very shortly before the gun goes. That’s when terror can strike at the sight of the long lines snaking back from the portable toilets on site. No such worries with a virtual marathon. Your start line is just outside your front door and your bathroom is your own. Hopefully, it smells better than the one you usually have to visit in the middle of a field.
  1. Familiarity
    When I ran the November Global Marathon, it was the first marathon that genuinely felt like it was just my next long run. It’s a common refrain from experts that that’s how you should treat race day – as simply the next run on the plan – but the extra burdens of travel, gear check and running somewhere completely new make that difficult. My Global Marathon stripped all of that away. My course was constructed of the same streets I had been pounding for weeks, the sights and sounds were all exactly what I was expecting, and I knew exactly when and where I would see my support crew. It added to a much calmer experience and, ultimately, my fastest marathon to date.
  1. A direct route to the Age Group World Champs
    For those of you aged 40 and over, this race is a straightforward shot at qualifying for the next AbbottWMM Wanda Age Group World Championships in 2023. The year-long rankings season is underway with over 300 races all over the world for runners to score points in. It’s a high bar to earn a qualifying spot at the end of the year. The Global Marathon offers a way to cut through that process. Run well enough in your age group on the day and you’re in.

  1. The community
    Runners rock. It’s as simple as that. Seeing that borne out on a global scale across a couple of days is a fantastic reminder that this community can inspire and uplift you. From an Irishman in Colombia celebrating his Global Marathon finish with his baby to a Grandma in Florida coming down her own home straight flanked by her grandkids on their balance bikes, the breadth and diversity of runners taking part in these races so far has been amazing. Knowing you are taking part in something that is uniting people across continents is a truly special feeling, and it makes that medal a unique one to add to your collection.

The next virtual marathon takes place on 7-8 May and entries are open now.