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The Accidental Marathon Runner And How To Discover What You’re Really Made Of

accidental marathoner

The Day That Showing up Early Was a Bad Thing

Georgene Johnson got to the starting line 15 minutes early that Sunday in May 1990.

Normally arriving early to an event is a good thing. But on this day, it would have surprising consequences.

You see, the 42 year old secretary was supposed to run in a 10-kilometer race (6.2-mile).

Instead, she mistakenly joined about 4000 runners taking part in the Revco-Cleveland Marathon.


How is that even possible? It’s very easy when you realize these two facts:

1) The 10-K (6.2 mile) race was set to start at 8:45 a.m.

2) The marathon started 15 minutes earlier.

But both Revco-Cleveland races used the same starting line.


After running for 4 miles, she started to realize something was wrong, because there was no turnaround point in sight.

She finally decided to ask another runner, “Is this the 10K race?”

He told her that it wasn’t and that she was in a 26-mile marathon.

She was so embarrassed that she started crying.


Just when she was about to give up, she looked up as a runner ran by.

On the back of his shirt was the saying, “Just do it,” so she did.

She kept running and running. And this is the surprising part. 

She finished the marathon in 4:04, which was good enough to get her 83rd place in the women’s division.


When she was interviewed later by a reporter, her response to placing 83rd was, “I guess I was in better shape than I thought. I feel fine, although my knees are real sore this morning.

There’s one last thing you might want to know.

Her longest run before the marathon was 8 miles.


The Only Way To Know Your Real Limits

Maybe you’ve been running and running in a “race” that’s lasted way longer than you expected.

Before you give up, remember Georgene Johnson and “just do it”.

Look, this isn’t just a post about some “self-help mumbo-jumbo”.

We all have limits and things we can’t do.

But it’s also true that we all have areas of our lives where we are “in better shape than we thought”.

And the only way to know which is which?

You have to go for it.



Source: LA Times


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About Scott Aughtmon (1872 Articles)
I’m author of the book 51 Content Marketing Hacks. I am also a regular contributor to and I am the person behind the popular infographic 21 Types of Content We Crave. I’m a business strategist, consultant, content creation specialist, and speaker. I’ve been studying effective marketing and business methods (both online and offline) since 1999. ===> If you would like to see ways that we could work together, then please click here to learn more.