Owatonna elementary teacher Adam Drever didn't grow up as a runner. However, his wife has run most of her life and ran the Twin Cities Marathon eight years ago. At that time Adam said he would "never" do one. He has run 12 half marathons and a couple of ten-mile runs and took the leap of faith to mark his 40th birthday this year, "I actually registered shortly after my birthday with the thinking that I'd be trained to do the From the Heart Run (in Owatonna) at the beginning of May, so I was halfway there."

Recent Owatonna graduate and current Biochemistry Major at Augustana, Millie Wanous made the decision to run after helping a friend train for the Sioux Falls Marathon last fall. Wanous ran the 5K at that time but decided to go the distance as a way to prove her self confidence to accomplish a big task. Her goal is to attend Medial School and knows that is a big challenge as well. She told me completing the marathon has already made her feel more confident in herself. Wanous ran some 13-mile and 20-mile training runs but had not participated in an organized event of more than 5 kilometers before the TC Marathon.

Personally, I have run for more than ten years but most of that time was a couple of miles here and there and the Steele County Fair run each year. Then a few years ago I went to a couple of events my daughter participated in and everyone was having so much fun I decided to give running a bit more effort. I have run a couple of From the Heart half marathons, a few ten-mile events, one 25-K trail run, and two Relay Iowa's. Then, mostly on a whim, I signed up for the Twin Cities Marathon.

Drever, Wanous, and I were among the many first-time marathoners on Sunday, October 6. The support from random people along the course was incredible. Drever said, "I enjoyed the fanfare, the signs, the energy and the entire atmosphere. What an event! I am so thankful to my family and friends that came to watch along the course."

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Wanous loved the kids along the way giving out high-fives. She said it was cool how they essentially shut down Minneapolis for the event, likening it to a "ghost town." Her plan was to alternate running and walking throughout the 26.2 miles. However, when she slowed to walk early on, so many people encouraged her to keep going that she ended up running a little more during the first half and had to walk a bit more toward the end.

My kids met me several times, as did Rich Will from the radio station. All the random strangers cheering with such gusto was a true motivating factor to complete the exhausting trek from US Bank Stadium to the capitol in St. Paul.

My knee started hurting around the 21st or 22nd mile. At that point it hurt to run, hurt to stop running, and hurt to walk. Back around the 18th mile I was wondering about "the wall" that everyone says you hit in an event like this.

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Drever faced some adversity around that same point, "I was cruising to mile 18 and felt really good until that point." Then he hit a hill. "I ran a-third of the way up that and thought to myself, 'What are you doing? This is not worth using this much energy,' So I walked the rest of the way up."

Drever ran into some challenges during his training, "Since I have run 13.1 miles many times, I figured 14, 15, 16-mile runs would not be much different. Turns out this were the most difficult runs I had for training." He says he had to learn how to properly fuel himself for those runs.

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I believe I will do this event again. Wanous called it a "once-in-a-life-time event," although she plans to run other distances and is already signed up for a half marathon. She's never considered herself to be a runner, saying that's why she played team sports at Owatonna High School.

Drever hedges just a little, "I don't think it is out of the question to do another." He is now part of a running family, "Both of my boys are in cross country, and running has turned into a lifestyle for our family...It's a way for me to relieve stress and get some exercise. I've made some good friendships through running too."

I couldn't agree more. I've spent weekends together with people I hardly knew and ended up feeling like longtime friends. The support runners give each on the course is incredible as well. It's not really a competition, but a shared goal and destination.

So, to answer the question, why run? It's for the free bananas along the course and the cool shirt at the end.