TRAVERSE CITY -- Two-time Olympic marathoner Ed Eyestone said his message is not original.
But it bears repeating.
"It's tough to be an overnight sensation in this sport because of the work involved," said Eyestone, who will be the featured speaker Friday evening at the Traverse City Track Club's 11th annual Bayshore-In-Training program. "People need to be remember that. You have to persevere."
Eyestone, the cross country coach at Brigham Young University, said it's important to set goals and work towards accomplishing them.
"You have to be consistent in your training approach," Eyestone said. "You can do some great things."
Eyestone will draw on his personal experiences as a professional runner, coach and analyst for NBC Sports in his address Friday. The program starts at 7 p.m. at Northwestern Michigan College's Hagerty Center. There is no charge. Earlier in the day, Eyestone will join area high school and junior high runners on a three-mile run.
The 27th annual Bayshore Marathon is set for May 23. The event, which is quickly filling up, typically attracts a number of first-time marathon runners.
"I'm going to stress that they can do it," Eyestone said. "It's all about the importance of persevering, trying your very best and enjoying the process en route. Some people look at the marathon as the ultimate goal, the ultimate prize. It's certainly a great accomplishment, but the process of preparing for a marathon is as much a reward as actually crossing the finish line."
Eyestone was an elite runner at 5,000 and 10,000 meters when he decided to make his marathon debut in Boston in 1987. Although he didn't have the necessary qualifying mark to enter, officials waived that requirement based on his resume.
"I went in with very big expectations, wanting to win or finish in the top three," he said. "My 10K times were faster than a lot of the previous winners. I went in as a young, cocky guy thinking this would be a piece of cake. The marathon ended up being a very humbling experience that first time out. I still ran 2:19 and ended up 19th in the race, but I experienced for the first time what a lot of people experience -- an actual, physiological wall at about 20 miles.