Follow us on social media
Make a difference
Other Projects

Zero to Ultramarathon in 10 Weeks – My First Race Ever

AuthorRichard Zaher

We’re often told that undertaking extreme endeavors unlocks our latent potential. Yet, hearing about something and actually doing it stand miles apart. And now, at the age of 48, I sensed the cosmic alignment, prompting me to unearth my true capabilities and plumb the depths of my spirit. Thus, in July of 2022, I registered for the Marine Corps Marathon, one of the nation’s largest races, taking place in Arlington & Washington, D.C. 

This new journey wasn’t solely about me. I desired my kids to witness it and perceive a limitless expanse of possibilities for their lives. I aspired for my family to observe the tenacity of the human spirit and get inspired. And my mother? I yearned for her heart to swell with pride, recognizing the resilience she instilled in me. 

I’ve long believed that humans hold greater potential within than we admit—hidden reservoirs of ability buried deep. After all, we’ve all seen people take on massive challenges without much prep, conquering them with the power of the will. If they could, then surely I could as well. But if I truly aimed to set a meaningful example for my children, it meant undertaking meticulous preparations. 

Richard Zaher running his first race in Washington D.C.

A three-month training regimen loomed on the horizon, and this time, I crafted each run to extend beyond the confines of my comfort zone. Three months of scars, bruises, pain, and relentless discomfort would lie ahead. The plan was to hit the pavement every other day, whether alone or accompanied by fellow runners. 

On certain days, fatigue attempted to slow me down, but my WHY pushed me onward. I grappled with soreness, the unpredictable weather, and my body’s resistance to the strict diet while yearning for more rest. I also had to juggle runs amid meetings and family commitments.

But, the real struggles unfolded within my thoughts. I would face inner debates urging me to stop, yet every time I stepped out and began a run, the experience would morph into an invigorating game. 

people runnnig an ultra marathon in Wshington D.C.

In the final weeks of preparation, a knee injury emerged as a tough opponent. Overcoming it meant tapping into hidden strength, pushing through pain while keeping my eyes locked on the goal. At the same time, in an unexpected twist, I realized that instead of signing up for the marathon, I had registered for the Ultra Marathon. That meant tacking on an additional 5 miles to the already challenging course. However, I came to understand that this was the intended path, a manifestation of divine will. 

And so, undeterred by obstacles, I found myself standing resolutely at the starting line on October 30, 2022, ready to face whatever lay ahead. Surrounded by the echoing cheers and united determination of fellow runners, I felt an energy coursing within me. At that moment, a firm assurance took root—I’m going to cross the finish line of this race. 

My individual runs never ventured past 18 miles, but I knew that number was not the limit. The starting miles went as expected, but at the 20-mile marker, the ease of my earlier strides faded; I was now treading unexplored terrain. The image of my family waiting at the finish line burned brightly in my mind—a guiding light spurring me on. In the last 10 miles, my muscles ached, my joints protested, and the energy reserves were long gone.

Soon enough, I wasn’t even feeling my legs anymore. Yet, the sheer power of my spirit propelled me onward; I was driven by a determination that couldn’t be broken. With each step, memories of my three months journey surged—early mornings soaked in the rain, battling cramps under the scorching sun. As I crossed the finish line, an overwhelming rush of triumph surged through me—a revelation of the extraordinary within me. 

Richard Zaher registered for the Marine Corps Marathon

Running an ultramarathon was undoubtedly one of the most demanding trials I’d ever faced. It served as a vivid reminder that growth flourishes beyond the confines of comfort and within the embrace of the unknown. I feel grateful that at the age of 48, I have a body and mind capable of carrying me through the most extreme journeys. This also ignites a fervent commitment to their well-being. Finally, this race fortified my inner conviction that we all possess the power to overcome the obstacles we set our minds to.


Richard Zaher

About the author

Honesty, hard work, and treating people well – these are cornerstones of my life and Best You Best Me foundation. I try to keep my eyes and heart open because opportunities for kindness are everywhere.

Get inspired by other’s stories & projects

Add impact to your inbox

Want to know about our work? Donating, fundraising, volunteering and campaigning opportunities right in your mailbox.

We hate spam, and we respect your privacy!

Support us

Alleviating suffering through acts of kindness. Give monthly, yearly, or one-time. Help us help others.

We use technology, such as cookies, to personalize and enhance your experience. By continuing to use this site, you agree to our use of cookies. Privacy Policy

Got it