During my junior high and high school years, in the days leading up to and especially the night before a big track invitational, my favorite thing to do was turn to quotes as a way to find motivation and inspiration. Twenty-four hours from now I will be embarking on what will be the longest and most grueling race of my life, so the desire to seek inspiration is intense. Below are 14 quotes, one for each of the 13 miles plus a bonus for that final tenth, which I will call upon in my quest toward the finish line.
Best of luck to my fellow runners on Friday and Saturday. Knowing that you were out there training toward this common goal was enough to keep me going some days. I can not wait to run this race with all of you.
Mile One: "The task ahead of you is never greater than the strength within you." - Unknown
Mile Two: "There are clubs you can't belong to, neighborhoods you can't live in, schools you can't get into, but the roads are always open." - Nike
Mile Three: "Champions do not become champions when they win the event, but in the hours, weeks, months and years they spend preparing for it. The victorious performance itself is merely the demonstration of their championship character." - T. Alan Armstrong
Mile Four: "Most people run a race to see who is fastest. I run a race to see who has the most guts." - Steve Prefontaine
Mile Five: "Running is the greatest metaphor for life, because you get out of it what you put into it." - Oprah Winfrey
Mile Six: "Racing teaches us to challenge ourselves. It teaches us to push beyond where we thought we could go. It helps us to find out what we are made of. This is what we do. This is what it's all about." - PattiSue Plummer, U.S. Olympian
Mile Seven: "I always loved running...it was something you could do by yourself, and under your own power. You could go in any direction, fast or slow as you wanted, fighting the wind if you felt like it, seeking out new sights just on the strength of your feet and the courage of your lungs." - Jesse Owens
Mile Eight: Running is real and relatively simple…but it ain't easy. - Mark Will-Weber
Mile Nine: "It's very hard in the beginning to understand that the whole idea is not to beat the other runners. Eventually you learn that the competition is against the little voice inside you that wants you to quit." - George Sheehan
Mile Ten: "Now if you are going to win any battle you have to do one thing. You have to make the mind run the body. Never let the body tell the mind what to do. The body will always give up. It is always tired morning, noon, and night. But the body is never tired if the mind is not tired. When you were younger the mind could make you dance all night, and the body was never tired. You've got to make the mind take over and keep going." - George S. Patton, U.S. Army General and 1912 Olympian
Mile Eleven: "Your body will argue that there is no justifiable reason to continue. Your only recourse is to call on your spirit, which fortunately functions independently of logic." - Tim Noakes
Mile Twelve: "Every morning in Africa a gazelle wakes up. It knows it must move faster than the lion or it will not survive. Every morning a lion wakes up and it knows it must move faster than the slowest gazelle or it will starve. It doesn't matter if you are the lion or the gazelle, when the sun comes up, you better be moving." - Maurice Greene (attributed to Roger Bannister shortly after running the first sub-4 mile)
Mile Thirteen: "In running, it doesn't matter whether you come in first, in the middle of the pack, or last. You can say 'I have finished.' There is a lot of satisfaction in that." - Unknown
Finish Line: "The real purpose of running isn't to win a race, it's to test the limits of the human heart." - Bill Bowerman