There was a time when only few people could manage the marathon distance, and it was an exclusive privilege of elite sport. At that point in time, marathoners were looked upon as heroes, the extraordinary people. Nowadays, many hundred thousand or even millions of people can make the marathon distance. Mass marathon today is a reality.
The marathon and super marathon develop immunity against dangerous stressful situations. Marathoneers have strong and reliable hearts, capable of withstanding almost all ills of life. “None of those who can make a marathon in less than 4 hours does suffer from heart disease." All marathon runners keep saying that the marathon makes a huge healing effect. And not just because of the marathon by itself. The marathoneer leads “a healthy lifestyle (usually with regular trainings), doesn’t smoke, sleeps well and cares a lot about his physical fitness. As a rule, he complies with a diet that includes fresh fruits and vegetables, consumes low fat food products.”
Marathon makes a person radically change his lifestyle: from a passive “waiter” of all sorts of diseases and afflictions, he becomes a true master of his body and his behavior. The short distances do not possess this “feature”. They lack, figuratively speaking, the power to overcome the barrier of old habits and beliefs.
Running is a life itself, the life in miniature, and narrowing it down to just remedial purposes is a profound fallacy. Running for the sake of life means communication, knowledge, love, passion, competition, pleasure and pain, struggle and negotiation. Health as itself in running is only an intermediate goal or one of the goals. In this case, it is indeed an element of mass physical culture, the aim of which is not the public health itself but a full harmonious development and an active longevity.
The best thing about the marathon is that it provides an objective assessment of one man’s capabilities and also causes serious consideration to jogging. The marathon is a real school of life.