Ready, Steady … Marcothon!

December’s mileage challenge returns to see off 2021 in style

Marcothon 2021 kicked off just after midnight last night, with thousands of runners committing themselves to the personal challenge of running at least three miles or 25 minutes every day in December, ‘for nothing and no reason whatsoever’.

The basic rules of the Marcothon are simple: those committing to the challenge must run every day on the last month of the year, including Christmas Day. Each run must be a minimum of three miles or 25 minutes long, which ever comes first. There’s no playing catch-up, either; if runners miss a day, they’re out. Only running – not walking, cycling or any other activity – counts, but pace is not important. 

Runners can also take on the ‘double’ Marcothon by committing to 10K each day, or help their kids achieve the junior Marcothon, currently set at one mile a day. 

The build-up to this year’s edition of the festive challenge began in November and reached a peak last night, on ‘Marcothon Eve’. For days, runners have been sharing their stories of preparing for the challenge on social media and downloading Marcothon calendars to pin on their fridges. The first UK miles will already have been logged by super keen Marcothoners in the early hours of this morning (Wednesday, 1 December). 

Now in its 13th edition, the Marcothon began in the winter of 2009, when Glasgow-based ultrarunner Marco Consani designed a challenge to keep him running over the darkest days of winter. He settled on running at least three miles every day in November, and achieved his goal.

After seeing her husband’s fitness and motivation improve as he worked through his challenge, Consani’s ultrarunner wife Debbie decided to do the same the following month – naming the challenge the ‘Marcothon’ in his honour.  

Word of the challenge soon spread around the world and the Marcothon community quickly grew. In 2010, the challenge joined Facebook, where it now has more than 7300 supportive friends. A twitter account and Strava group soon followed, with members logging their daily miles from across the globe, including New Zealand, where some of this edition’s first miles were logged.

Image: Marcothon (Facebook)

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