Runners Rant

Sitting down?  Good.  Here we go…

The New York Times started my weekend off right by running an article called “Plodders Have a Place, but IS It in a Marathon?” (click the title to read the article).  Basically the premise of it was that a few “pseudo-elite” runners (folks who are apparently around 4 hour marathoners) are whining that people who run marathons in 6 or 7 hours are demeaning the sport.

“It’s a joke to run a marathon by walking every other mile or by finishing in six, seven, eight hours,” said Adrienne Wald, 54, the women’s cross-country coach at the College of New Rochelle, who ran her first marathon in 1984. “It used to be that running a marathon was worth something — there used to be a pride saying that you ran a marathon, but not anymore. Now it’s, ‘How low is the bar?’ ”

Worth noting, by the way, that Ms. Wald ran a 5:49 at the New York Marathon in 1985, hardly an elite time.

The problem here is that these elitists who think a 6 hour marathon is “lowering the bar” have no idea what journey that marathoner has been on. Some of those folks running 6 hour marathons are coming from backgrounds of serious medical problems, of major weight issues, of just being generally non-Kenyan.  Before you belittle somebody who just ran a 6:40 marathon maybe you should find out what it took for them to get there to begin with. 

Because I tell you what, I did the Kona Half-Ironman this past May and for a time I was biking and running alongside Rudy Garcia-Tolson.  He just barely made the time cut-off for the event, finishing hours after Crowie won, but that kid is no joke.  He covered every one of those 70.3 miles and he did it with no legs below the knees.  That guy overcomes more just to get to the start line than most of us will ever have to.  He’s a winner.

Purists believe that running a marathon should be just that — running the entire course at a relatively fast clip. They point out that a six-hour marathoner is simply participating in the event, not racing in it. Slow runners have disrespected the distance, they say, and have ruined the marathon’s mystique.

These so-called purists, in my opinion, are just ego-maniacs who feel their own accomplishments only have merit relative to the accomplishments of others. I’m sorry but if the fact that somebody else ran a marathon in 6 hours makes you feel badly about your own 4 hour marathon then that’s really your problem. If you aren’t proud of having done something because somebody else did it too, then maybe you need to go do something harder?  Here’s a convenient list of those events for you: http://www.ironman.com.  You’re welcome.

To the bald guy in the silver SUV who was busy illegally talking on the mobile phone at his ear, and the tourist dude in the yellow jeep who was too distracted staring at the bikini girls…stop that and operate your vehicles.  Each of you nearly ran me over in a crosswalk today as I went for my run.  In both cases there were traffic signals and I was crossing with the WALK sign as you made a turn into my crosswalk without bothering to look for pedestrians.  Even 205 pound pedestrians wearing bright orange running shirts.

And Mr. Silver SUV…if you ever almost hit me and then shoo me along like I’m annoying you again, I’m going to pull you out of your SUV and beat you with that mobile phone.  Kthanksbye.

Dear Tourists,

I’m really glad you’ve come to Oahu and I hope you enjoy Waikiki. May I suggest that you get 2 more friends so that you can stroll 7 abreast down the sidewalk? No, really, I enjoy running in the ditch or the hedge just because you’re not considerate enough to only walk 2 or 3 abreast when somebody else is approaching on the sidewalk. I suppose I could understand it if I was coming up behind you and you sincerely didn’t realize there were other people around, but I was coming TOWARDS you, you saw me coming and you just continued on your merry, oblivious, stroll like you owned the whole darned sidewalk.

Oh, and maybe you could all stop more often and block the entire sidewalk while you take a few more pictures.  Aloha!  A hui hou!

Whew.

-B-

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