It is amazing and inspiring to see and feel the spirit of thousands of people of all ages and shapes pushing their limits. Even today, when the best runners fly trough the 26 miles course in an unbelievable 2 hours, the marathon remains one tremendous physical and mental challenge. A challenge that should be respected and considered as a health hazard, which it is.
Yes, running a marathon will make you feel more accomplished and give you something to be proud of, but it can also be the the reason for that sharp pain in your knees, hips, back...for months and maybe years after you proudly cross the finish line.
On the other side I absolutely agree that the process of preparation and training for marathons makes us healthier. Tons of great resources and pre made plans make preparing for a marathon accessible for anyone who wants to pursue the challenge. By working with a coach, friend, or simply following an online plan we can build up endurance and strength and improve our overall health and fitness by doing it.
My point is that today, when marathons have become arenas for individuals and groups to express support and seek funds for their causes, it is easy to overlook the original physical challenge of running the distance and the possible health consequences in the long term.
That is why when somebody tells me wants to run a marathon I try to explain the risks rather than just high-fiving them on the back and saying "Go for it!"