I was 18 when I competed in my first marathon in Dublin, Ireland. (note: the picture to the left is actually me in my second marathon - no pictures of the first, oh well) At that time I was a decent 400 meter runner in high school, but got it into my head that I should try the longer distance - and what better than the marathon.
Back then, the running craze hadn't quite heated up to the point it has today and running a marathon was further uncharted water for most people. Heck, I don't think I even knew anyone who had actually run one of those things!
I remember the ferry-ride from England to Dublin - wondering what I was getting myself in for two days hence when the race would begin. Fidgeting on the deck of the boat, trying to get some sleep with my head on my backpack - and wondering if the lack of sleep would hurt my performance - even though I had no idea what to expect.
The next day in Dublin was a struggle to find the check-in - it seemed that most people didn't realize there was a marathon to run. Or so I thought. Later it would seem as if the entire citizenry of Ireland was out for the race.
The race day was one of those fantastic Irish mornings - somewhat overcast, but the warmth of the people forced away the clouds. Only snippets of memories from that first race remain: the feeling of running through a tunnel of people as the crowds lined the curvy streets ten or twelve deep; the cheers from the crowd as the news came across the radios that an Irishman had won the race; the exasperation as I sought to see in the distance the orange mile markers lining the course, only to be disappointed when the orange signs came into focus and turned out to be the advertisements for the sponsors' orangeade; the incredible kindness of the crowd cheering me on as I hit the wall and tried to struggle through.
I started this website due to my experience in that, my first marathon, and the love of the race that grew in the years after. Whether you are a veteran marathoner, a novice, or just an interested passerby, I invite you to participate in this website and make it your home. Runners, and particularly marathoners, seem to share common ideals. They are part of a global team, a global community. We hope that we can bring some of that feeling to the web - and we hope you'll give us feedback on how you think we are doing.
- John Elliott