Marathon Running and the Power of Testimonials

from Annette Elton 

Confused by the title? Let me explain…I have decided to train for a marathon. It’s partly an effort to maintain my sanity – I’m not very good at meditation. The other part is quite possibly a bit of vanity, I want to be able to say that I’ve run a marathon. I’m calling it “vansanity.”

Anyway, I’m not totally nuts. I bought a book called “The Non-Runner’s Marathon Trainer.” It’s a book written by a couple of professors at the University of Northern Iowa. They’ve taught a marathon running course to over 200 students whose ages range from the typical 20 year old college student to 55 year old work at home moms. Every single person that has taken the course, with one exception, has finished a marathon.

Now to the testimonials part of this post…Reading the book, I was amazed by the testimonials throughout the book. Many of the students contributed their experiences, some of them harsh and painful, some of them amazingly successful, each of them inspiring. As I read these stories I was struck by how powerful a testimonial can be.We should be including testimonials and personal experiences in all of our copy! Imagine how much more powerful your next article would be if you could include a bit of personal experience related to your topic.

For example, if you were writing an article about coaching basketball and offering strategies to motivate young players you could include a personal story about how you had an unmotivated team and used one of the strategies to turn them around. It would be a much more interesting and personal article!

Have a great day!

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8 Responses to “Marathon Running and the Power of Testimonials”
  1. Mila says:

    I didn’t know you ran Annette! I’m training for a marathon too… I don’t actually find out if I get in until November (Marathon is in April)… and yes it’s madness! :-)

  2. Hi Annette,

    You are so right! Personal experiences add so much to the copy we do, especially when they are our own. I tend to be “long winded” because for me, there is a story behind everything. I think that it’s these behind the scenes stories that really make people understand why you are writing. The stories are what people connect with.


  3. Hey Mila,

    You could always tie some sippy cups on a string and let them rattle behind you while you run. ‘Course, you might have nightmares about giant sippy cups chasing you. :P


  4. Annette Elton says:

    Hi Mila,

    Is this your first marathon? I haven’t decided which marathon I’m running. One is along a beautiful river in a canyon and it is in April also, the other marathon is high in the mountains above 10,000 feet and the views will be stunning but it will mean extra training at elevation. Fortunately that marathon isn’t until July so I have plenty of time to prepare! Let me know if you get into the marathon and how your training is going! Are you using a training program?

    Have a great day!


  5. Mila says:

    LOL Kit! (see Moms, Kids & Sticky keys)

    Annette, this is my first one, and it’s next April , the Flora London Marathon but it’s extremely difficult to get in. We’re also signed up for a half marathon in case we don’t get into that one… part of me kinda wants the easy way out ;-)

    I’m following a training program from, their website and books are fantastic.

    I’ll have to look at the this book you were talking about, is it on Amazon?

  6. Annette Elton says:

    Being chased by sippy cups…yikes!:-)

    LOVE Runner’s World – I receive a daily running inspirational quote in my email from them. Yes the book is at Amazon it has a lot of THE SECRET type motivation and inspiration but it is also full of tangible information about running and training and each chapter is a week of running and has a running log at the end of the chapter.

  7. Mara B. says:

    You ladies who decide to run a marathon after never having done so, you rock! I have never had the desire to do that, and doubt I will. But, I’m here cheering you along! Go Mila! Go Annette!

  8. mila sidman says:

    Thanks Mara, I don’t know about Annette but for me I think it’s a mid 30s sort of thing… realizing hey I need to do something fun instead and crazy, LOL. Maybe i’m having an early mid life crisis ;-)