Friday, October 23, 2009

Marathon Elitists...

...note I didn't title this "Marathon Elites". Big difference.

Read the following article and see if you agree with me:
http://www.nytimes.com/2009/10/23/sports/23marathon.html?_r=1

14 comments:

Helen said...

There is so much wrong with that article I don't know where to start! What a bunch of pretentious people they quoted (apart from John Binghman - he's cool).

"Slower marathoners believe that covering the 26.2 miles is the crux of the accomplishment, no matter the pace."

I am not a "slower marathoner" but I absolutely believe the accomplishment should be claimed by every finisher.

I do have an issue with people on the starting line who are not trained for the distance/conditions/cut-off time. It's unsafe, selfish and unfair to everyone.

It's the RD decision on course closing time and the responsibility of every participant to know the cut-off, to acknowledge their own ability, and to be aware of the conditions.

Everyone who finishes within the cut-off time is a marathon finisher. Whether they chose to call themselves a 'marathon runner' is entirely up to them.

Thanks for the link!

Bob - BlogMYruns.com said...

Everyone who finishes within the cut-off time is a marathon finisher. Whether they chose to call themselves a 'marathon runner' is entirely up to them.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Ditto Helen...

Nothing wrong with walking and running every other mile as long as You finish within the courses cut off times...

Better than SITTING on the couch then Rolling to the floor over to the fridge - LOL

Keep Moving America!

Jeffrey J. Sparks said...

Unless you are a person who is at or above the top 1% in what he/she chooses to pursue --be it running, skiing, table tennis, business, music. -- who are you competing against? Yourself really.

Who cares what other runner's times are? I a measure my finish times against what I have done at similar distances or on the similar courses. I could care less what other runners are running, except to encourage them to compete against themselves.

I coach Cross Country here in Klamath Falls (Go Viks!) We have 5k runners in the 16:40s and 5k runners trying to break 34:00. I am out there at every meet yelling and cheering for each and every athlete to do his or her best, every time.

It's not about external rewards (or "the marathon mystique"). If it is, then you are going to have a hard go of anything you attempt.

Get out and run! If you need to walk, fine. Next time, you will walk a little less. Or maybe you won't. I'll still cheer for you to do your best, and have a good time doing it.

Peter Lubbers said...

Totally agree with you, Sean.

I found it especially funny that Given, did not even break 4 hours herself is ragging on 6-hour marathoners--"Oh great, that’s fine, but you didn’t really run it." I guess it is all relative ;-)

Those "Fast-holes" need to lighten up--not everybody is out there for the same reason.

Fortunately, and I think you'll agree with this, you don't come across this attitude all that much in runners, and especially in ultrarunners.

jonesey95 said...

I was describing the article to my wife, and here's how I summed it up: "I don't know a SINGLE runner with this 'slow marathoners aren't marathoners' attitude." And I have known thousands of runners, some of whom are very fast.

I finish in the top 10% of all-comers street races and in the top third or so in ultras. But I'm a skinny runner type who's been doing it for 30 years. I have MORE respect for the people who are out there pushing their 20-lbs-overweight or 65-year-old bodies to the finish line hours after I finish than I do for the skinny types who can run a bunch of 5- or 6-minute miles in a row and make it look easy.

What is confusing to these "fast" runners about being on your feet for 6 or 7 hours and covering 26 miles? It's HARD. I have run a 3:10 marathon and a 5:30 marathon. I can tell you from personal experience that the 5:30 was much, much harder.

Thomas Chapin said...

I too have never met the kind of marathoner that mocks the slower finisher. There is always someone faster, so unless you are Haile Gebrselassie you need to keep your mouth shut in such debates. This is one of the many reasons I tell beginners to hang out with ultra runners. At the AT100 my race number had written "finishing is winning."

Danimal said...

I was steamed reading that article too, and had all the same thoughts posted above. I am glad that there is a venue for elite runners only, which does not include Given, it is called the Olympics.

I think of all the people that have taken up running, to run a marathon, to raise money for a worthy cause. How many people have benefited from those events, including the runners. Great article to bring up Sean, by the way, what kind of dog is Sasha? She is a looker!

sharmanian said...

It's nice to have some events which require qualification times (Boston, Fukuoka etc) but most races have to be for everyone and the more people burning off ome calories, the better. Increasing numbers of marathoners will hopefully play a part in making the rich world healthier and who could argue that isn't a great goal?

Maybe everyone woud be happy if there were different medals for different times, like in many South African races, manly ultras. Certainly inspires the whole field to aim for their particular goal in a more focused way and the majority get the medal for 'just' finishing.

Anonymous said...

Running as a participatory sport has exploded in this country, for many reasons. One of them is that it is easy for everyone to participate, unlike other sports which have become increasingly elitist. If running becomes elitist, what will be left?

Anonymous said...

Ok, I am going to jump off the bandwagon here. After having worked at a running/walking store for nearly three years, there is one group that really bugs me:
Folks who go from the couch to the marathon and straight back to the couch. This is a big demographic that I see come in to the store every darn day. Many have the audacity to try to return for shoes for refunds the week after the marathon, claiming that they hurt their legs. It couldn't have been running a marathon on pavement off of 15 mpw?

I almost feel that they invalidate a sport that many of us, 3 hr and 6 hr marathoners alike, work so hard it.
Something like buying a guitar, barely learning to strum "American Pie", and claiming to be a musician.

Chad Sayban said...

I agree with everyone else. We should be doing everything possible to get as many people out doing marathons at any pace instead of sitting on the couch. It's laughible that someone running a 4-hour marathon is looking down their nose at slower runners when the elite-level runners spend huge amounts of time trying to encourage everyone to get out there.

Anonymous said...

Slow people suck.

Anonymous said...

So do rude people! Be nice! It's good that more people are out getting in shape, whether they're slow or fast. The fast people are done way before the slow people, so why should it matter to you? We're all there for the same reason, to have fun.

Heidi said...

I really like the comment by the Klamath Falls XC coach. The ability to take pleasure in every athlete trying to do the best they can, regardless of their finishing time...that's the way it should be. I applaud anyone who gives running a try, be it 11 minute miles around Green Lake or a speedy ultramarathon. It's all impressive in my book.