To the uninitiated, the thousands who attempt the Goodlife Fitness Victoria marathon or half marathon must seem crazy, perhaps unhinged by the months of training and too-tight lycra.
But for every one of the 11,000+ people expected to run those distances or the 8K on Oct. 13, there is a story.
For some it will be a fun event to sharpen their appetite for a turkey dinner.
For others, it's the culmination of months of training, persevering through painful setbacks, time away from family and the dream of achieving what seems unattainable.
The journey from setting a goal and crossing the finish line is intensely personal.
Even runners who find refuge talking to other runners about topics that bore their spouses into a glassy-eyed stupor ultimately race alone with their own angels and demons.
I prefer to think of myself as being in purgatory.
Running a half marathon twice a year has become an excuse to eat cinnamon buns without guilt and keep this city's physiotherapists and massage therapists employed.
This year, I was registered for my first marathon but got smacked down by injuries.
When it became obvious in late August that I wasn't going to New York, I had a bit of a pity party, modified my training, booked quality time with my physiotherapist, bored everyone with reports on my IT band and reset my goal for the Victoria half-marathon (my favourite race regardless).
I'm not the only person who had to recalibrate.
As of Oct. 4, 78 people who had registered for the Goodlife Fitness Victoria marathon had changed their event to the half-marathon and a few more are expected to do so by race day.
Last year, 86 people shortened their expectations. But that seems like a small number, considering more than 2,000 are signed up so far for the gruelling event.
The half marathon continues to be the queen of the castle, with more than 5,200 people registered as of Oct. 4.
I say queen, because women outnumber the men.
Last year, 62.4% of the 5,502 half-marathon participants in Victoria were women. They number even higher in the 8K event - 64.8 per cent of the 2,850 last year. The marathon was the only race with more men than women and that was a closer split with 55 per cent of the racers being men and 45 per cent women.
The participation rates for women for the Victoria races are higher than average. Some speculate that this city's choice of training clinics are part of the answer. There is definitely a social aspect to the group training that appeals to the women I talk with.
So what will race day look like for me?
This year has been an exercise in humility, even for a mid-pack runner with nothing to prove.
I've come to terms to running slower then even slower even as I chased all sorts of remedies for my chronic injuries.
This will be my 12th half marathon and my goal is the same as it was for my first - to finish upright and injury free.
I was over the moon to cross the finish line that day - incredulous at my achievement.
It didn't matter what my time was. It was the journey that mattered.
That is the feeling that I want to invoke at the start line on Sunday.
To run with pride in what I've done to make it this far. It's a different journey, a different story, and only one tale in thousands.