North Face Endurance Challenge Trail Marathon (Princeton, MA)
Finish Time: 6:51
Temp: 76 degrees
Conditions: Clear and Sunny
Run For: Abbe
26.2 miles, almost 5,500ft of climbing, summit Mt. Wachusett twice within the first 9 miles, close to 7 hours of running = the hardest marathon I’ve ever done. This was easily harder than any other race I’ve ever run, just with the climbing alone. A year ago I attempted this race and had a hard time mentally that day. When you run a tough race and don’t have a good day mentally it usually means physically it’s going to be just as hard. The mountain beat me last year so like any stubborn runner, I had this race marked down for redemption in 2018. The day registration opened for this year’s race, I was signed up! I needed to go back and run this again so June 9th was definitely circled on my calendar.
It was also very fitting to run this marathon for Abbe. Abbe has done many Team Challenge events and she is as tough as they come. I got to witness this toughness first hand during a cycle event at which Abbe was having a tough day. She would probably agree that it was one of the hardest days for her on the bike. Although as tough as it was she didn’t quit and she proved that she was tougher than that course and her disease. So to pair this tough marathon with someone as tough as Abbe just made perfect sense.
I had to draw on some of her strength to make it through some of the really hard sections on this course. These sections were slow and technical but I just kept thinking about her and all those who battle tough times each and every day. I knew this marathon would eventually come to an end and I could rest. Unfortunately, people like Abbe, don’t always get to rest and their struggle doesn’t end. I would run 100 marathons just like this one if it meant their battle would come to an end sooner. Battling Crohn’s and colitis can feel like a marathon sometimes and it’s races like this one that leave me in awe of what patients go through. The physical and mental struggles they deal with are harder than any marathon could be. As hard as this marathon was it really is nothing compared to these horrible diseases.
As tough as this race was, I’m pretty proud of this finish. I’m also so happy to have been able to include this race on the 26.2 For You schedule. Abbe, you are an incredibly strong person and I’m amazed at all you have accomplished. Thank you letting me run this one for you and for sharing your story. You are an inspiration to many, not just me. I’m happy to be on your side as we fight together against Crohn’s and colitis. You are an IBD warrior with out a doubt!
Marathon #11 was tough but it’s done! This 26.2 was for you Abbe! 26.2 For You!