A dare helps Ben Friedland learn the hard way
Ben Friedland, left,cruises along in mile 22 of the Chicago Marathon on Oct. 15.|Special to the Daily| |
It’s not unusual for the marketing folks at the local ski resorts to be some of the most active people in the county.
But Ben Friedland’s story is unique.
The youth marketing director of Intrawest Colorado completed his first marathon a month ago, when he crossed the Chicago Marathon finish line on Oct. 15 with a time of 4 hours, 3 minutes and 6 seconds.
His motivations are the real story.
“I started running (in 2002) on a dare,” he said Saturday from his office at Copper Mountain.
“I had a few too many cocktails and I agreed to run a half-marathon that was only a few weeks away. I woke up the next morning and thought, “What have I done? I have to learn how to run.'”
The next thing he knew, the half-marathon turned into several, and he realized he wanted to go bigger.
In June, he put himself on a strict training schedule of running and cross training five days a week.
“It’s a commitment,” he said. “I had to plan my entire life around my training schedule which, at times, was frustrating.”
Despite the day-in, day-out presence of his training, he said much of the structure and discipline it provided was fulfilling.
The other part of Friedland’s motivation to run was to raise money and awareness for the American Cancer Society.
“There was a group of people who ran for the ACS,” he said.
“Together we raised about $520,000 for cancer research. It was awesome.”
As such, he wore a jersey that represented the society, as well as a few special people.
“I have personally not lost a loved one to cancer – knock on wood. So I asked those who donated to give me the names of those close to them affected by cancer,” he said.
“I then wrote those names on my jersey.”
According to Friedland, the legendary Chicago crowd was the big reason he chose the Windy City.
The Chicago Tribune reported that more than 1 million people lined the course to cheer the runners on – and they didn’t disappoint.
“About a half a mile into the race there was a bridge,” Friedland said.
“As I was approaching the bridge, there were thousands and thousands of people on it stacked seven, eight people deep.
“For the first time in my life, I thought this is what a pro must feel like,” he continued.
“For a normal guy like me to have that type of experience was really, really fulfilling.”
And he heartily recommends the experience of running 26.2 miles to anyone.
“If you’ve ever thought about doing it, do it,” he said.
“The positives absolutely outweigh the negatives in my mind.”
As for doing another one, Friedland is pretty confident it will happen.
Richard Chittick can be reached at (970) 668-3998, ext. 236.
, or at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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