Bob’s story


bobrunningI never considered myself a runner. I was never fast, I never ran Cross Country or Track, in fact I hated running. I saw running as a necessary evil and even questioned the “necessary” part.

In 1998 I turned 35 and decided to cross one of my life goals off the list, I would run a marathon (26.2 miles). So in the Fall of ‘98 I ran the Portland Marathon. It was “one and done”, never needed to do that again. But I did. In fact I did it again, and again and again. To date I have run over 25 full marathons.

In 2011, as I was nearing the half century mark in my life, a friend planted the seed thought of running an ultramarathon (an event longer than the traditional 26.2 mile marathon). Specifically, Comrades Marathon in South Africa. What began as a seed germinated over the next couple years and in October of 2013 I decided to commit to run Comrades in May 2015.

My desire was not merely to check another goal off the “bucket list”, but to use this opportunity to make a difference. To leverage this adventure for something greater and more significant than just a long race. I began dreaming about more than simply running a distance, but accomplishing a task beyond anything I had ever attempted before.

And so I ran the “Uphill Route” of Comrades in May 2015, raising over $130,000 for the Khayelitsha Project.  It was the most challenging and rewarding race of my life. For the remainder of my time in South Africa, the most frequently asked question that I encountered was whether or not I would come back and run Comrades again. In fact for some, especially those who have run Comrades, it was stated as a foregone conclusion, like “You have to run again next year” or “You haven’t done Comrades until you’ve done the Up year AND the Down year.”

So after running the “Up” year, I decided to return to South Africa in May 2016 and run the Comrades “Down” route. While you may think it’s easy because “it’s all downhill”, the reality spoken from those who have done both is that the Up year is more difficult but the Down year is more painful. I discovered that the first 47 miles were actually quite enjoyable but the last 9 miles were a struggle and I found myself walking more than I wanted to. That said, I still finished at roughly the same time as I did when running the “Up” year.  It is definitely a race that will challenge and humble you.

I am excited to share this undertaking, this endeavor, this adventure with you. I hope you will JOIN THE STORY.

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Bob Marvel