Why I Ran a Marathon

By Dan Fey

As an exercise physiologist and current director of Utah Valley Performance Sports Training, you could say I’m passionate about sports. I love getting the most out of athletes and pushing them to their fullest potential.​

danfeymarathon sized
Me with my family after completing the marathon.
Within the last few years I’ve especially become interested in gait analysis or running technique. So for me it was really no surprise I loved my first race and wanted more, but from most people, all I heard was why do you want to run a marathon? 

My professors at BYU had said before, “The best thing you can do for your body is train for a marathon. The worst thing you can do for it is run one.” So why would anyone in their right mind decide to run for 26.2 miles? And worse, why would they do it again and again? I wanted to discover for myself why in rain, snow, dark, cold, hot and really hot runners lace up their sneakers and run? 

You discover a lot as a runner and throughout your training. Lessons learned in commitment, dedication, what it looks like at four in the morning and how to get the most out of your body both mentally and physically. It is these lessons that will aide you in finishing your marathon or race. 

My training helped me discover peace as I ran without music and into the beautiful canyons. I love my family, but with a 21 month old and a new baby two months prior to the marathon, running offered me some needed quiet time. I soon discovered that running was as much mental as it was physical. During training I fought obstacles such as boredom. Have you ever run for three hours? Laziness, lack of sleep, diet (I love good food) always tried to prevent me from logging my planned distance.

My competitive nature I think is what ultimately pushed me to compete. I love the adrenaline rush that comes through competition and success. It drives me and I think it is what drives others to multiple races. It doesn’t have to be a competition with others, simply a competition with one self – to prove to your body that you are in control, despite pain and fatigue.

At the finish line you’ll see people collapse or have tears streaming down their face. Some runners call it quits after 20 miles or bow out during training. It is a tough journey, but as I ran my marathon it was a culmination of all my training and the support of my family that led me to the finish. As I watched others cross the finish line, all had a look of relief, but it was the pride in finishing that was most notable.

I don’t think I discovered why I wanted to run, but simply how much I love to run. I finished my marathon and could check it off my bucket list, or so I thought. A few days later I got the itch to do it again. I could do it better. I could run faster, I thought. So I entered my name in the Ogden marathon, and what do you know, May 18th, I’ll run my second marathon.

Tell me about you, why do you run? Where do you run? What are you training for?