Martin Luther King Jr. Senior High School algebra teacher Benjamin Harris was one of thousands of runners who completed the 41st Detroit Free Press/Chemical Bank Marathon on Oct. 21.
This was Harris’ 11th marathon. Completing the 26.2-mile race that goes through the streets of Detroit and Windsor, Ontario, is no easy task. So he takes time to prepare for the victory of crossing the finish line.
“I usually start training a few days after the race [for the following year], so I started training for next year’s” already, Harris said. “As the season goes on, winter training is not as rigorous as spring training. Summer training is the most rigorous training because it’s closer to the marathon.”
Harris noticed his time to complete the marathon has changed. He equates age as the main factor. He is now 54 years of age.
“When I first started running the marathons, my time was much faster. My first marathon, I did it in 4 hours and 30 minutes (and the) second year 4 hours and 15 minutes. Then, as I've gotten older, 10 years later, it takes me an hour longer to finish,” Harris said. “It shows even as you get older or come of age, you still can accomplish your goals.”
Last year, Harris experienced pain during the run. Even though it was chilly this year, he had a pain-free and successful run.
“It was cold, and I was glad I was done. I wasn’t in any pain,” Harris said. “Last year, I felt cramps in my legs, but this year I felt pretty good.”
Lakina Moseley, health teacher and trainer at King, stresses that running great distances is no easy task and takes ongoing preparation.
“If you are not in shape, it can cause joint and bone problems from the constant repetition from running,” Moseley said. “Sore ankles, sore feet, sore knees and hips are pretty much the downfalls of running.”
Harris’ strength and focus to run in marathons doesn’t come from any individual, but more of a spiritual place.
“I wouldn’t say that anyone has inspired me, but whatever I do, I try to honor God and give Him glory,” Harris said. “I would say Jesus Christ is my inspiration. He is the one that gives me the strength to run and to train.”