You read that headline and either recoiled in horror or nodded your head vigorously.
The very thought of running 26.2 miles is daunting, to say the least, but once you get past the crippling fear of it all and actually do it, you'll find it's one of those invaluable life experiences that should belong on everyone's bucket list.
Here's why you should sign up for a marathon ASAP:
You'll get super fit
You will never appreciate your body more than when you're training for a marathon. Even if you're fit to start with, watching those miles increase week on week to the point where the prospect of busting out a 20 mile training run doesn't even phase you, puts you in a whole new category of fitness. Running for the bus will never be a problem again.
You'll work towards a goal
If your life has become an endless cycle of work-party-home-sleep-repeat, it may be time to shake things up a little by way of setting yourself a goal. A marathon is an achievable one (no matter how much it seems like you stand no chance when you start) with a deadline and a structure in place to get there.
You'll start to believe in yourself again
Lost your confidence? A marathon will boost that back up like Beyoncé just told you she likes your hair. The way a marathon training plan is set out, you increase the distance of your runs each week. So one week you'll think there's no way you can run 10 miles then, BAM! You do it! The next week, you'd like to punch the very idea of a 12 mile run right in the face, but then KAPOW! You go out there and kill it. You can easily see the progress, feel yourself getting fitter and stronger and this carries over into every other area of your life *cue you strutting into the office like Olivia Pope*
It makes you believe in other people again
There are few things in life that make you want to hug everyone around you more than a marathon. Race day is like one big party. You have so much love and respect for your fellow runners - you know how hard they've worked to be there, you know the pain and the struggles. You see runners completely throw their goal time out the window to help a fellow runner in need. Legions of strangers come out and line the streets to cheer you on and encourage you. Kids giving you sweets to give you a much needed sugar hit during a tough mile, someone whose taken the time to make a hilarious sign that makes you chuckle and takes your mind off how much your calves hurt for a second, someone throwing their arms around you and giving you a pep talk when you've slowed down to a walk - you will appreciate every little moment of it.
It gives you YOU time
Don't have time to make it to weekly meditation or therapy sessions? Fear not, marathon training is like one of those bundle deals telecoms companies offer you. You run to get fit but a by-product is, while spending all that time pounding those pavements, you work a lot of things out in your head. You can have real moments of mindfulness and meditation while out on a run. Two birds, one stone. You're welcome.
It teaches you more than you ever thought possible about life
Once you've completed your marathon, at any point in your life where you're doubting yourself, that shiny finishers medal serves as a reminder of that one glorious day, where you pushed through those boundaries, silenced that voice in your head that was telling you you can't do it, worked hard towards something and actually did it. Suddenly, giving that presentation or asking for that raise doesn't seem so daunting.
So, sure, running a marathon definitely isn't easy, but maybe it's time you took a chance, shook things up a little and showed yourself exactly what you're capable of.
Words by ELLE Fitness Editor Muireann Carey-Campbell