The Marathon experience: A great sense of accomplishment
     2016-09-30      By Frank Marquez    editor@geringcitizen.com
Editor’s note: Overall, 489 runners entered the Platte Valley Companies sponsored fifth Monument Marathon, half marathon, and 5K races in Gering this past Saturday, meaning the event’s appeal is growing.

There were 70 entries in the full marathon, with 65 completing the course. The half marathon was the largest category with 284 entries, with all runners finishing the course. A total of 135 runners signed up for the new 5K event, with everyone completing the course.

The Gering Citizen decided to take a closer look at why at least one runner goes the distance, and how the sport is growing and viewed. The following exchange is a Q&A with Beth Bates, of Alliance, Nebraska, a first-time runner of the Monument’s half marathon, and overall second half marathon.

Q: Do you plan to run another one?

A: There is no doubt that I will be running another half marathon in the future. I’m currently looking into the half marathon in Lincoln in November. I loved the Monument Marathon course so much, that I plan on making this an annual event. I graduated from Gering High School in 1992, so coming back home felt really good. I loved the cheerleaders and motivational signs along the way. In fact, I literally chuckled out loud when I read the sign: ‘Look alive, mortuary ahead.’ My husband is a funeral director. There was another sign that said, ‘Hurry up, I’m getting tired of standing here.’ That was funny too. I’m looking forward to September 30 next year.

Q: When did you decide you were running this one? Was there anyone who talked you into it?

A: I decided to run this one right after I finished completing my very first half marathon in June 2016. I was hooked. In fact, I believe I registered for this run the day after. I was so excited. My time in June was 2:00.30. Funny little story to that. I hurt two of my toes really bad three days before that first run. (I was going up my deck stairs barefoot and slipped.) I knew I had hurt them bad, but I refused to go to the doctor. I was afraid she’d tell me I couldn’t run. I trained too hard to not run, so nothing was going to stop me. I went to the doctor two weeks later; I was still having a lot of pain in them. Diagnosis: two displaced fractured toes. It was crazy, but my determination outweighed the pain.

Q: What was your finish time?

A: My finish time (for the Monument Marathon) was 1:58:28, and I placed second in my age division. My goal was just to beat my previous time. I accomplished it, and it felt great.

Q: How much training did you do? What kind of training did you do?

A: I am a full-time nurse and have a young family, so, I try to run two to three times a week. I run a lot with a running stroller, which I believe helps my endurance. And, I take turns taking my boys on a run with me for the shorter runs. They love it. My husband supports and encourages me, which is also a good motivator. I try to have a longer run at least one time per week, averaging 10-1/2 to 11 miles.

Q: Did you have a running partner? Did you talk to other runners along the course, and what did they have to say? What did you find out about the other runners?

A: I found that the people running were all very nice, and had sort of a bond that we were in this together. I never felt the sense of competitiveness from anyone. I felt confident that if I needed any sort of help, I knew someone would be there to assist. It just gave you a good overall feeling.

Q: How old are you? Did you participate in sports in high school or college? If so, what sports, and by comparison, how easy or difficult was running the half marathon?

A: I am 42. I have been involved in sports my whole life. I was involved in track and volleyball in high school, going to state several times throughout those years. I also received a scholarship to play volleyball at Western Nebraska Community College in 1992. I feel now that I’m older, I definitely have had to train more and work harder to get into the shape I wanted to run a half marathon. Now, that I’m feeling really good where I’m at internally, I don’t want to lose it. I have run many 10k and 5k runs over the years; now, they seem so short.

Q: A lot of beginners say they want to either improve their time or they say that was the craziest thing they ever did, had a bad experience, and never want to do it again. Where do you fit in that spectrum? What would be your motivation in running another one?

A: I have to agree with you. I feel an overall sense of accomplishment when I cross that finish line. All that hard work paid off. I love the feeling of seeing my family cheer for me and getting the medal placed around my neck. I love this experience.

Q: What did you think of the event overall?

A: I found this run to be very well organized and the communication about the event kept me well informed. I felt that I received all the information I needed, never having to search for answers anywhere. The organizers and volu

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