Oct 28, 2009

People who think I shouldn't run marathons exist, get NYTimes ink

(This is the 400th post I've written to this blog)

Years ago, I finally internalized the futility of arguing politics with people, especially on the internet, and thus almost never do it even though I retain very very strong opinions. I mostly keep them to myself and reluctantly tolerate others' political rants. Avoiding these arguments has helped me keep friends that I would have otherwise lost. It's a nice perk.

Having learned that lesson, in the past couple of years I have tried, and sometimes failed, to avoid online debates in particular. I'm getting better at it, I swear. But every now and then something comes up and I just can't resist writing about it, or at least spending some otherwise valuable productive time reading people's comments and getting emotionally vested in it.

So when this article in NYTimes came through my feed reader, I knew that if I wasn't careful, the ensuing conversation would descend into a rapidly-downward-spiraling argument that would accomplish nothing. The reason is, this article was talking squarely at me. The Times was printing opinions of people who'd prefer I NOT run marathons.

Stated simply, I have no patience for these people.

I have to leave it at that and resist writing a three-page angry rant here. It would just be a waste of time, as nobody would read it anyway. Instead, I am going to go right into light-hearted mode, and quote some of the funnier opinions of folks who happen to agree with me.

JMF: ...you know you're closer to being Joe Six-Pack that you ever will be to being Paul Tergat. You think Paul is cramped behind a pc someplace ranting about how he's a 'real runner' who can't stand that some people jog the whole way and can't finish in less than 3 hours? But for you 'Real Joggers" - in your little gel pak addled minds, walking it in six hours constitutes being a wooly mouse, and jogging it in 3.5 hours equates to racing through bomb craters and hailstones...
SG: If someone runs a 3:00 marathon, they are still 55 minutes (8 miles back) off the world record. Does that make them a slowpoke fatty?
Shawn D: I'm all for the back-of-the-packers. I say take 10-hours! That way my slow ass times appear all that more impressive :)
Mark: I'm going to have to stop telling people I "run" 100 milers.
legallyillegal: so when some fatf**k does something other than sit at home and have donuts, you're there telling them to go home and have another donut?
B: Shhh!!! If you eliminate the 'casual' or 'walker' marathoner, then you won't get an ego boost comparing yourself to pros & elites that ran past you like you were standing still. How will you feel coming in DFL at 3:10?

There were no shortage of less funny but very insightful comments, either.
Laz: an inherent desire to belittle less talented athletes is a sure sign of an athlete who does not respect his own performance. as a coach, you find that every athlete has their own particular needs. the athlete who belittles others needs to be taught the worth and value of his own performance. the athlete who believes in himself treats other athletes with respect.
Spurgeon Hendrick: Snobby runners can all bite me. Fast runners who complain about slow runners need a reality check. The lady at the end of the article who tells 6+ hour runners, "that’s fine, but you didn’t really run it" ... who does she think SHE is? She's snooty just because her 4:05 time beat somebody by two hours? The elites beat HER by two hours ... Does that mean she "didn't really run it?" And to say, "a six-hour marathoner is simply participating in the event, not racing in it" ... is just plain stupid. Is a four hour marathoner "racing it?" Uh ... no. Is a three hour? Hmmm ... let me think ... the elites will beat him by an hour ... so .. uh .. no. Although I would argue that ALL of the runners are racing against themselves, either against their old PR or against that little voice in their head telling them to quit.Do these elitist numb nuts realize that for some people running the race in 6+ hours requires more effort, more hard work, and more determination than it does for them to run a four hour marathon?
Ed Parrot: But exactly what is the point of saying that someone didn't really run it? I mean, is someone suffering from an insecurity complex or what?
Byron Lane: I've won races that I can't even remember doing, but I can tell you stories from each one of these days on the road with my dad, and so can he. It's my favorite race each year, and probably his, too. Other people can call it a run, a non-race, a fast shuffle--I don't care.
MN: I ran along with a guy who was well into his 80's and had finished every single TC marathon since it began. Started running in his late 50's to keep him off the bottle and from smoking. Hell I'm prayin I can pull that off in 40+ years too and I don't want some douche whose a "real runner" telling me that if I'm not sub 4 hours I shouldn't be there.

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