Running the Notorious 26.2


Michael Clark (12) poses with his medal he received after finishing the Chicago Marathon. This was the third time Clark participated in that marathon.

Olivia Oster, Author

On, Sunday, Oct. 9, Michael Clark (12), accomplished the Chicago Marathon for the third time in a row. This was both a physical and mental battle for him, but after five hours, 16 minutes and 42 seconds, everything Clark had practiced paid off in his accomplishment.

“Our training program started in April. I ran with Faith Church’s team out of Dyer. It’s called the 12-1 team. I also ran with the Fleet Feet marathon team. We train until we get to 20 miles, and that was our longest run. Then, there’s a tapering period, where we run less and less until you are not even running for about a week or so. Then comes marathon weekend. That is the day all your training is put to the test,” Clark said.

Most people would consider running a physical battle, but Clark clarifies that there is much more to it than that.

“It’s not natural to run even close to that far. In order to go that far, you have to tell yourself that you can do it. It gets monotonous after a while, and you stop saying it, and that’s the point where you fail. That’s the test of your sanity,” Clark said.

Runners from all around the world come to Chicago to participate in the Chicago Marathon, and Clark was lucky enough to talk with a runner from Paris.

“Just before I hit the 24th mile, I look to my right, and I see this guy walking, and he’s having a tougher time than I am. I ask him if he is okay. He said his leg was hurting, and I responded saying, ‘You know what, I’m okay, I want to see you make it because I know you can. I’m going to finish with you, and I am going to try my best to get you to forget about running.’ We talked to each other about our lives, and we got to know each other on a personal level for the next 2.4 miles,” Clark said.

There are many emotions one can feel after crossing the finish line. Some runners, like Clark, did not know how to feel after what he called a “roller coaster”.

“We were finally on the last stretch. All the flags are lined up with all the countries that are there, different people [are] just screaming, it’s super loud and exhilarating and then there’s a point when you cross the finish line. We call that ‘runmotion’, where everything that’s happened over the six months of training, and everything that’s happened over the 26.2 miles of running, comes to you,” Clark said.