Drop out

This has not been an easy post for me to write, nor will it be an easy one to share.

I have decided to not run the Barcelona marathon in 2 weeks’ time. It would be crazy for me to do so. Neither my body nor my head is in the correct place for me to attempt 26.2 miles. It is after all, a long old way. (The distance itself is not an excuse, it has not changed. I knew just how far it was from the beginning).

In truth, I never really wanted to run it. I made a mistake in telling you that I would, I knew all along that it didn’t sit right with me. I had hoped that it would provide me with meaning for my day-to-day, a greater goal, a greater purpose. It did not. All I found was regret. I have wrestled with this decision from that very day, for the past two months.

Sometimes we just dig ourselves into a hole and think the best way to get out of it is just to keep on digging, right?


Come race day whatever happened it wouldn’t be good enough. I would find no pleasure in running it – not even in completing the distance. If I didn’t run then I’d have quit, if I ran then I wouldn’t have done as well as I should have done because I’d been lazy. I have not trained. To say that my training has been insufficient would be an overstatement. It has been non-existent. I can’t blame anyone other than myself for the position that I currently find myself in. I fear that trying to run it now would do more harm than good, physically and mentally. It is likely that if I were to finish I would exceed the cut-off time of 6 hours.

There’s a bit of “I’ve made my bed, so I shall lie in it” to my thinking. And a small part of me still wants to continue, not to protect my ego, but for the challenge of completing a marathon with no training. (Although, I suppose, in a way, that’s only to boost my ego.) But I know that that would be foolish.


Something I’ve never really admitted to before is that this marathon attempt, as well as the last, was about little more than trying to manufacture a situation where it was acceptable for me to write and share my thoughts with you. I was using the marathon as a cause to rally around in my attempt to encourage conversation regarding our mental health. Nothing more. I did not care about my time nor was I interested in how much money we raised along the way.

In hindsight I could have just shared these posts with you anyway, without the façade of a marathon. Having preached about openness and honesty with those closest to us, I was doing the exact opposite. Why is it that our own advice is usually the hardest to listen to? We do not need an excuse to talk about mental health, but that’s exactly I was giving myself. I realise this now.


I know that now everything I say and do is hollow, that my words are now worth less because there is a chance that I will go back on them. In all honesty, I think that this is a risk worth taking.

A close friend of mine made me aware of the irony that whilst running for Mind and trying to promote conversation of mental health, I was actually damaging my own. She had a point.


5 Comments Add yours

  1. Matt,

    I think that it is very brave and honest of you to share this post. Also, I do not think that your words are hollow at all. In fact, I think that by admitting how you feel, that you are showing just how honest you truly are and how it is okay and good to tell others the truth. I think that if you don’t feel comfortable running the marathon, then that’s the best decision for you. I can tell that it is not out of laziness that you are not running it, but rather because you simply don’t feel the passion to do so. Even if you were lazy, that would be okay too. The truth is that we have to do what’s best for ourselves and I think you made the right decision.

    1. M_McKeen says:

      Thank you! This is a very nice comment to read. I really appreciate you taking the time to reach out. I know deep down that it’s the right decision and so it’s easier to find peace with it. Thank you

  2. Honey8 says:

    Congratulations to make a right decision and listen to your heart. If your hear still wants to run that marathon.. you can practice till the next year. I am sure you’ll have a good practice till then. I appreciate you for such great step! Keep soaring ✨❤

  3. Paul Lamb says:

    I’ve felt this same way since my last half marathon, last fall. I did so poorly that I asked myself why I even bothered. I haven’t run a step since then. I’m not sure if I’m happy or disappointed about that.

    I do think it’s prudent and acceptable to NOT commit to a large distance run if your body isn’t prepared for it. And so much of running, I have found, is mental, so if your head isn’t in the right place, nothing good will come of an unprepared attempt.

    I hope you find some resolution. (And now I have to look into the Barcelona Marathon!!!)

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