The runner’s high

Josh Johnston

Daily Kent Stater sports reporter Josh Johnston was one of 4,107 people who ran a half-marathon at yesterday’s Pittsburgh Marathon. Here are his thoughts on the final stretch.

Thirteen miles down, one tenth to go. By this point in the Pittsburgh half marathon, my legs felt like bricks.

So I was pretty surprised when I started sprinting to the finish line. I had no clue where the extra energy came from, but I ran with it… no pun intended.

After mentally willing my body for 13 miles to run, the roles had switched. In that last 528 feet, it was my body acting on its own accord.

I heard the finish line announcer call my name as I rounded the bend.

“Joshua Johnston of Kent, Ohio!”

Everyone I’ve talked to about running a marathon told me there is no better feeling than the feeling of crossing the finish line. Some guy named Marc on wrote “Good luck to all! It’s a great feeling when you finish!”

That made me curious. I’ve ran in 5K and 5-mile races before, so I know what it’s like to finish. I know the final kick at the end of each race and the rush of adrenaline that comes with the first glimpse of the finish line.

But from when I woke up at 5 a.m. to that moment, 1 hour, 53 minutes and 26 seconds into the race, I wondered what they meant.

A second later, I found out.

I’m not even sure how to describe it. I couldn’t help but grin as I walked through the chute. I laughed without knowing why. It was pure euphora rushing through my body. I couldn’t hold it back. I didn’t want to hold it back.

I would have done a backflip if my legs didn’t feel like Jello.

Everything around me moved in slow motion: the volunteer who wrapped me in a solar blanket, the photographer who took my picture, the woman who placed the silver finisher’s medal around my sweaty neck.

That feeling made the past six months worth it. It made all the miles and pain worth it.

It’s a feeling I could definitely get use to. So why stop now?

It’s just the beginning of the marathon season, and I’ve got an entire summer ahead of me.

Contact sports reporter Josh Johnston at [email protected].