People often make funny or unusual bets with one another when they’re engaged in competition. But one story out of Ohio pushes the limits of what constitutes a funny bet and what’s just plain borderline dangerous (or challenging, depending on how you look at it).
Ian McNamara, 26, of Cincinnati, Ohio (pictured above, with his friends) recently had to complete an entire marathon — 26.2 miles — with no training whatsoever, after losing at fantasy football, the UK’s Unilad is reporting.
McNamara has taken part in an extremely competitive fantasy football league for four years with his childhood best friends, that publication reported.
At the end of every year, there’s a severe penalty for the person who finishes last, something the group gets together to watch — whether it’s performing stand-up comedy or doing something rude or distasteful in public.
It was McNamara’s turn, as loser, to pay up — and the group decided he would run the 2018 Hamilton Nightglow Marathon, which started at 6 p.m.
McNamara had the added challenge of having to complete the race in under six hours, as the course closed at midnight.
Most people train for marathons for months, running multiple times each week, getting their bodies ready to be pushed to their physical limits.
Not McNamara — he was going to compete in exactly the condition he was in when he lost the bet. And although his friends initially teased him about the marathon, as the date edged closer they became “increasingly concerned for his safety,” noted Unilad.
Subsequently, McNamara began to get the jitters, frequently asking his friends how far they think he would get.
As their predictions flowed in — ranging from four miles to 16 miles — said Unilad, only McNamara’s oldest friend believed in him, saying he could do it.
Despite constantly wanting to quit with each passing mile, he managed to complete his challenge on race night, September 1. He crossed the finish line with only two minutes to spare and completed the marathon in five hours and 58 minutes.
“Once I found out I’d be the one running, it became an issue of pride,” McNamara told Unilad.
“I came to the conclusion I was absolutely not going to finish, so I would at least not embarrass myself by training and failing.”
He added, “If I was going to fail, I was going to fail with pride, the pride of a stubborn and obstinate aging man past his prime clinging to youth.”
He took his daunting challenge in stride and with good humor.
“In fact, I became honor-bound not to train, often bragging that I didn’t need to train at all — knowing full well of course I had to train, and knowing that I wasn’t fooling anyone,” he told Unilad. “I was not quiet and I was not confident, but I displayed to those in the group chat and anyone who knew what I had to do a supreme confidence that I was going to finish.”
McNamara spotted his friends later on in the race and noticed they were no longer rooting for his failure — but were cheering him on.
McNamara was spurred on by his friends’ lack of faith in him.
“Ironically, what kept me going were the bets my friends had made against me,” he said to Unilad. “Their rooting for my failure spurred me onward.”
McNamara spotted his friends later on in the race and noticed they were no longer rooting for his failure — but were instead cheering him on.
Completing the marathon without training meant a lot to him, especially since the farthest distance he had run before was three miles back at college.
“Everyone with me helped me to my feet where I was walked back to the party bus and had a cold beer,” he said. “The best beer I have ever had.”
— journalnews (@journalnews) August 29, 2018
He also explained why he would accept such a challenge.
“I ran that marathon because of the great friends I love so much, and I know they would do the same for me.”
McNamara posted a photo on Reddit of himself collapsing into his friends’ arms as he crossed the finish line, said Unilad.
He wrote: “It took 5 hours and 58 minutes, but I did It. This is the moment I crossed the finish line and collapsed into my friends’ arms after completing an entire marathon without training.”
The internet responded by giving him thousands of upvotes, noted Unilad — which left him feeling overwhelmed by the messages of congratulations.
This is not the recommended way to compete in a marathon, of course — ample gradual training and even a doctor’s visit and advice is in order.
But McNamara proved that where there’s a will — there may indeed be a way.
See this man cross the finish line in the video, below.