Running is not a stick-and-ball or team sport. It's an individual sport like shooting. Lots of concentration and time spent in your own head. You have to be comfortable there and able to process and adjust on the move. I never broke 3 hours in a marathon but flirted with it several times. Yesterdays winner ran in the 2:20s. That's moving along.
The Marathon is a specific race. 26.2 miles. Think of something 26 miles away and consider running there in a pair of nylon shorts, singlet and shoes. You didn't quite make it- there is still .2 miles to go.
It's a hell of a race.
Harder to scare or intimidate someone who has run a marathon or done extreme sports. I think it changes the way you think about yourself and expands your concept of what you can do.
Hope the men get a day of good weather as well. Being on foot in the streets of a major city with the police actually keeping the road open for you is a sweet experience.
Update: Tam doesn't quite get it, but she would if she gave it a try, being an individualist kind of gal.