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George Ferguson Column: I'll have to enjoy the first Bear Paw Marathon from the sidelines

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Last updated 6/3/2021 at 8:53am

Decisions are not easy sometimes, and late Monday night, I was facing a tough call. No, it wasn’t some monumental quandary I was in, but it was a decision on whether or not to put myself in a possible jam.

And in the end, I guess you can say, I chickened out, or decided not to find out if I would end up in one or not.

You see, at 11:59 p.m. Monday, registration for the first annual Bear Paw Marathon expired. No, I wasn’t considering running in the marathon, or the half marathon for that matter. I’m not insane, and I haven’t trained for something like that. And, I know people who have run them before, and I know how much training and planning goes into running the full or half marathon.

But, I was thinking hard about running in the 5K, something I’ve never done before.

And at first glance, it seemed like a no brainer. I’ve been cardio and endurance training six days a week for the past seven years now. And most recently, my wife and I invested in a Peloton, while I still run several days a week. So it would stand to reason I would be in plenty good enough shape to run 3.1 miles.

At the end of the day, I probably am. I may not have set a record time in doing so, but I’m quite certain I could have made it through the run unscathed.

So, why the hesitation? Because actually, I’m not all that certain, and I don't know why.

Since, as my good friend Scott Larson once put it, I decided to “take my body back” in 2014, I’ve pretty much done it all. I’ve run on treadmills, I’ve used stair masters and ellipticals, I’ve become a jogger and endurance runner, I own a Peloton, and of course, I’ve hiked all over Glacier National Park and Yellowstone. I’ve walked up and down golf course fairways and this past spring, at the age of 46, I played some of the best tennis of my entire life.

So why should I be afraid of running three miles? Why, after a year of thinking hard about participating in Havre’s first-ever marathon, did I hesitate to the point I let the registration deadline come and go?

The answer is, I really don’t know. All I know is, for some reason, it didn’t feel like I was ready. Running in my neighborhood is one thing. Running in an actual road race, where people take things as seriously as I take golf and tennis, that’s an entirely different situation. And I guess, for a moment, I just didn’t feel like I was ready to officially enter a race.

Not to mention, as I wrote in a column this time last year, I don’t particularly enjoy running. In fact, I most of the time can’t stand it. I do it because I want to be in good shape and because I want to be healthy. But I don’t enjoy it very often. And I especially don't like it as much as I do the Peloton, or hiking in a national park.

Having said that, though, as race day draws closer, I already kind of regret not signing up. Yes, it’s a weird push and pull inside of me. I know I probably wouldn’t enjoy myself, but at the same, I know I would be proud of meeting the challenge and, therefore, am disappointed in myself for not rising to the occasion and entering. I like meeting challenges. I like pushing myself. But when it comes to this one, I’ll have to wait till next year.

For now, I’ll have to admire those of you who do run Saturday. And, for all of you who are entered, I’m excited for you.

The Bear Paw Marathon has been a long time coming. And after last year’s inaugural event got canceled because of the pandemic, the wait has been excruciatingly long. Finally, though, it’s here, and as the Havre Daily News’ sports editor, I can’t tell you how glad I am it is.

There’s nothing like a new event to cover. And this one isn’t just new, it’s unique. A marathon and other road races through Beaver Creek Park, that’s special, and for all of you pushing yourselves Saturday, the day is going to be very special.

So enjoy the first-ever Bear Paw Marathon. Thank you to all of you who are working so hard to put it on, and I admire all of you who entered. And after watching it from the sidelines on Saturday, maybe I’ll finally get up the courage to join all of you in 2022.

Editor's Note: For more coverage of the Bear Paw Marathon, see Friday and Monday's Havre Daily News.


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