Is Running a Marathon Healthy?

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01/10/2013
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Scott:  You mentioned how much running a marathon takes out of you. A lot
of people say, "That can't be healthy." You run a lot of them. Is that the
case? Is that actually good for your body to run 26 plus miles?

Dick:  I don't know if it's good, but I don't necessarily think it's bad
for you either, but the key is to train for it properly. I love the charity
runners that are out there at all the races around the country now, and
they raise a lot of money for a lot of good charities, but part of the
problem is their number one goal is to raise money for that particular
charity. Then second is to get these participants ready for the race.

Number one, raise the money, then we'll worry about getting them in shape,
and that isn't happening in a lot of these charities unfortunately. Some of
these people, their first race that they've ever run in their life is a
marathon. That isn't healthy. Really, it takes you some years to get the
whole conditioning down and the muscles and the tendons, and ligaments all
used to the type of training that it takes.

Every once in a while you'll hear of somebody that collapses and dies at
the end of a marathon or during it, and of course the anti-runners, they
jump on that and say, "See? We told you running is not good for you." A lot
of those people, if you look, they've had some under-the-radar heart
problems or something like that. Like Jim Fixx who came out with the "Book
of Running" back in the '70s, they figured he lived a lot longer than
normal because of his running. Then, hereditarily he was subject to heart
problems and he ended up having them.

So if you train right, have the proper nutrition, wear the proper
equipment, proper shoes, I don't think it's dangerous at all. People say to
me, "Well, you're not going to have any knees left." I've got two
artificial knees and people say, "Oh, it's because of all that running
you've been doing for almost 40 years." Believe it or not, none of it is
from running.

One, I got a bad infection in my knee and it ate away the knee joint, and
then the other knee that had to be replaced, I was in a bad farming
accident back in the late '80s and knew eventually it would have to be
replaced. But now I still run and train for marathons with the artificial
knees. I go in every six months for the doctor to look and x-rays. He says,
"They look like the day I put them in." So, I'm very fortunate there.
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Marathon runner and expert Dick Beardsley discusses the health value of running a marathon. He also talks about the risks of not training properly for a marathon or other types of races.

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