Two hours, 26 minutes, 53 seconds. That is the official time for 2017 New York City Marathon women’s champion Shalane Flanagan. She is the first American woman to win this marathon since 1977, finishing about a minute ahead of Kenyan runner Mary Keitany. In that moment, you could see the look of utter joy as Flanagan burst into tears, accomplishing a goal she had been aiming to achieve, a goal she had claimed earlier may be the peak of her career.

Now a year later, when everyone is overwhelmed with schoolwork, stressed following registration and overall tired of school, Flanagan is a perfect representation of how all hard work pays off. As much as we all want to sleep instead of finish our English essay, we have to persevere. Those two hours, 26 minutes and 53 seconds don’t come in a day. They come over years. It’s so hard for us as humans to continuously work and wait for results to come because they may take weeks, months or even years, but something we seem to forget is those are the things that are the most rewarding.

Flanagan didn’t achieve this in a day. She didn’t put in an hour of effort and suddenly be able to run a whole marathon. She had to work tirelessly for years to work up to this accomplishment. Whether it’s relationships, jobs or schoolwork, everything you want to achieve requires work. We all know work isn’t fun, hence the name, but it’s what comes out of all that work that makes people work harder. 

Many have big dreams, big ambitions and desires in our life. But all the big names who’ve accomplished great things, like Steve Jobs creating Apple, took lots of time and lots of failure. They were let down or didn’t make their goal and had to make a course correction to fix it. They never gave up though, and that’s the key. They believed in themselves and knew they couldn’t achieve greatness without conquering all the steps that led up to that. When really thinking about it, most people give up before they’ve even begun because of how much work it is. However, that then begs the problem of missing out on all the amazing things that come from our potential. 

I am currently training for a half marathon, and I have been on the verge of quitting one too many times. The stitches I get in my diaphragm every time I run another mile are enough to make me want to say, “I’ve done the best I could,” and stop altogether. Thankfully, I have my family and friends encouraging me and reassuring me that the aches and pains will be worth it once I’ve crossed the finish line. This holds true for anything. 

Finals season is right around the corner, and everyone will be hiding out in the library to work toward that A. The hard work will definitely pay off. Don’t be discouraged if one day in the library doesn’t make you an expert on statistics. Like anything, the A comes with time and effort. It’s not worth beating yourself up; you will succeed it may just take a little more time. 

Remember, it’s the failures that lead us to the ultimate goal. We must learn to struggle and fall and then get back up and try again. Eventually, we’ll all win our own New York City Marathon.