My First Marathon

I ran my first marathon in 1999. I had no experience aside from a few 10km and 5km runs. I had lived through the surgical and emotional pain of multiple brain surgeries as a child so I figured nothing could stop me from running a marathon. After what I had been through, running 42.2 km would be nothing.

My adrenalin was pumping as I arrived at the Toronto marathon in mid-October of that year. I wondered if I would make it to the end on my feet or in an ambulance. The race began and I could feel the excitement as I reached the 5km and then the 10km marks. At times, I was aware of people cheering along the sidelines but at other times, it was complete silence inside me. It was certainly a time of getting to know my spirit and myself.

For my first marathon, the time I wanted to finish in was 4:30 hours. I completed it in 3:35.


The day I missed the bus

City street

While I was going to college in 1997, I started to get interested in running. One day I was on my way home when I realized I didn’t have any bus money with me. I thought to myself, it can’t be that bad and with my backpack on and books in hand, I walked the six miles home.

As I walked, I was reminded of a sense of mind, body and soul that I had lost. I had run cross-country in high school and track and field in elementary school and I knew that when I put my mind to it and visualized a positive result, my body understood what needed to be done.

So each day after that I walked home from school. Soon it turned into a jog and then I was running home after college was finished for the day. I never thought at the time that I would ever train for the world majors let alone becoming a personal trainer or a Registered Massage Therapist in private practice. But all those things came to pass as I ran headlong into my life.


Running to Ethiopia

Ethiopian footpath. Photo by Greg Pressley 2005

Hello. This is my first blog. I have been posting a lot about my marathon running on Facebook and I’d like to share with you some of the experiences I have been through to become a world athlete.

Ethiopia 2005 Photo by Greg Pressley

In 2005 I flew to Ethiopia for the gruelling training which allowed me to run a marathon there. Training in Africa was so different than training in Canada. Even resting was totally different than back home. Training, some mornings meant getting up at one a.m. to run 40 or 50 kilometres in the mountains listening to the hyenas cackling in the darkness while we pushed ourselves to reach our personal bests. Everything was so different – different exercises, different running styles, and all at 10,000 feet above sea level.

Ethiopia 2005 Photo by Greg Pressley

It has been quite a journey, which I will share in these blog posts. I’d love to hear about your running regime and where you are at in your training.