By Vivian Kwok | Reporter
Take your training to the track by registering for the Student Foundation’s annual Bearathon. Its fundraising efforts for scholarships and scenic course of campus and Waco attracted over 2,000 registrants across Texas last year, according to its webpage.
The Bearathon earned its nickname as “The Toughest Half-Marathon in Texas” with its challenging course. However, the race also brings runners other rewards in addition to the physical feat. Overcoming the mental obstacle and receiving support from the running community are two more aspects of finishing a half marathon.
Woodlands senior Katherine Barron, coach for the Bearathon training program, said wrapping your mind around the idea of the 13.1 mile distance can be a difficult aspect for any runner.
“I have been running since junior high, and I still struggle with the mental aspect sometimes,” Barron said.
Barron said she listens to music or podcasts as she runs and that training with a partner is also a great way to help avoid the boredom of long-distance running.
“It kind of gets your mind off the repetitiveness of running,” Barron said.
Danville, Calif., sophomore and Bear Cycle instructor Madi Jeha is another runner who understands the mental taxation of marathons. She said she was a very competitive track and cross country runner in high school. Like Barron, she also recommends training and running with a friend.
“The running will feel a lot shorter if you have somebody who’s running with you,” Jeha said.
Jeha also said she sometimes plans out her day at some point during her long runs.
“You need to concentrate on the running, but at the same time, it’s such a long race,” Jeha said. “Think about other stuff, too.”
Strengthening your marathon mentality could also help push you physically as you train and on the day of the race, Jeha said.
“It really is mind over matter. You really just have to tell yourself, ‘you can do this,’ because you can do it,” Jeha said. “Even if you don’t think you can, your body definitely can do it.”
Jeha said finishing a half marathon is a feat even if you ran at a slower pace than you intended, needed to walk three miles or had to walk the entire course. She said a half marathon is about you and your achievement.
“That’s why you always see those 13.1 stickers on the back of people’s cars,” Jeha said. “Because they’re proud of what they’ve achieved.”
Jeha also said the community of runners and supporters the day of the race maintain a high level of morale, which can continue to push you mentally. She said the running community is one of the best you can be part of.
“Even going into it, you’ll know you’ll be able to do it, because you have all these people around you,” Jeha said. “You’re not doing it by yourself. You’re running with other runners who are going to encourage you.”
Jeha said the people on the sidelines help spur the atmosphere of support for the runners and said she runs for them.
“I think people don’t realize how fun of an atmosphere a half marathon really is because you have all these people cheering you on who just want you to finish, too,” Jeha said. “When you have all these people around you, it makes everything better. It really does.”
Jeha and Barron both encourage people to participate in the Bearathon or any half marathon. Barron said it has helped with her personal growth, self-esteem and confidence.
“You never know what your body can do,” Barron said. “Your body can do so much more than you realize and it’ll only make you stronger mentally.”
Jeha said you will enjoy the experience and may even find a new community of people.
“Keep going. Keep going because you’ll absolutely love what you’re about to do,” Jeha said.
The Bearathon will take place March 24. Check back closer to the date here for more information about race day.