It doesn’t take a great athlete to run a marathon, just a patient, committed one. And if you can pull it off, running a marathon can change your life. Your whole notion of what you’re capable of is exploded.

That’s going to be especially true for those who complete the mountainous gut check that is America’s Toughest Road Marathon.

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But here’s the truth of it: Running a marathon may seem like a solitary, even lonely, accomplishment, but it really rests upon the aid of friends, family, and a bunch of complete strangers. Many are race volunteers who staff water stops and keep traffic off the course. But many more are people who just show up to watch — especially if they know how to be a good marathon spectator. Sure, you could just holler encouragement while making asides to your neighbor about the insanity of those running by. But you could also do so much more. Read “Inspire an Athlete” by The Roanoke Times.