Running races is not just about medals and accolades and ego glory. Finishing any challenging race can be a sign of the return to soul/Self.
Challenging races hand my guts to me on a platter. The cups strewn along the road by the aid station are symbolic of the many bits of ego which we find we cannot go on with and must dump without a care.
The marathon race itself is a result of discipline carried out over months and years. We trained, we watched how much we ate, we got out of bed instead of sleeping. All of this preparation cannot be completed by just an ego. Fulfillment of the preparation requires the assistance of some inner force, the soul/Self.
To be a finisher is to step into a new reality, shifted from the one that still had its guts foolisly stored on the inside.
Does everybody know this? Maybe not in the worldly reality; but on some non-ego level of consciousness it is truth for all.