Marathon Running
The Runner's High
By Lisa Ohlson
Aug 2, 2009 - 9:47:17 AM

MALIBUVeikko Karvonen, European and Boston Marathon Champ, once said, "Marathon running is a terrible experience: monotonous, heavy, and exhausting." 


Chaffing and a red, painful rash may develop on your arms or inner thighs from rubbing together step after step, mile after mile. Two bloody rings may appear on the front of a man’s t-shirt from chaffed nipples. You may pull off your shoe and wonder where your toe nail escaped to or find a blister the size of a rock waiting to explode like a volcano. After running a marathon your 102-year-old grandma will lose her patience waiting for you while you walk her across the street, a flight of stairs will give you nightmares and the smell of your own body is another topic altogether. 

Participant in the Malibu International Marathon on Sunday, November 15. Photo by Joanne DeCaro Afornalli

Thousands of people run marathons each year.  What is the draw to this "monotonous, heavy and exhausting" experience?  Why would anyone do this to their body?  Are we all masochistic?  Everyone has their different reasons about why they run.  Mine is simple ”“ the runner’s high.


The runner’s high is defined by as a “feeling of euphoria that is experienced by some individuals engaged in strenuous running and that is held to be associated with a release of endorphins by the brain.”  This mystical feeling puts the love in my love/hate relationship with the sport.  There’s no other sport or activity that gives me this euphoric feeling.  Like any good feeling, it’s addicting.  It gets me outside pounding the pavement day after day in the heat and in the rain.  It may not find me every time, but when it does, it’s worth every step of the way.  Even if I don’t achieve the "runner’s high" on an average run, I always feel better.  I am more positive, calm and feel a great sense of accomplishment.  Or sometimes the pleasure won’t come until later when I am enjoying a post race feast or eating scoops of ice cream guilt-free.  At times running truly can be a "terrible, exhausting experience" but for me the reward is tremendous and the pleasure is always worth the pain.


Tip of the week: Use Body Glide or Vaseline to prevent chaffing, take an ice bath after a marathon to ensure walking the next day and invest in high-quality socks and shoes to keep all your toe nails and to avoid blisters.


We hope you are training to run the Malibu International Marathon or Half!  E-mail us at contact@malibuintmarathon and tell us why you run and why the pleasure is worth the pain.


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