Respect the Marathon?

>> Monday, May 10, 2010

OK. So, last night I decided to devote some time to reading this month's copy of Runner's World. I opened it up to the middle, like I always do, and -- BAM -- I ran head-first into this advertisement. Some of you may remember the whole "running" versus "not-running" a marathon debate sparked by this NY Times article. If you don't quite remember it -- the whole question of who a "serious runner" is versus, well, I guess a runner who isn't serious was presented. It sent a wave through the running community. At the time, I was in training for my first marathon . . . and it really irked me.

I'm not a FAST marathoner. My time was 4:10 almost 4:11 for my first race. When I read an advertisement like this one . . . I can't help feeling like I "didn't respect the race," so to speak. I mean, Stephen qualified for Boston. So, he's OK.

But what about the rest of us?

The part about the NY Times article that really bothered me was the woman they quoted . . . the one distinguishing the fast from the not-so fast. Given, who finished the Baltimore race in 4:05:52, said: "I always ask those people, 'What was your time?' If it’s six hours or more, I say, 'Oh great, that’s fine, but you didn’t really run it.'" NEWSFLASH . . . 4:05 isn't quite 6 hours, but it isn't quite Boston-qualifying either. So, why bother being elitist? The thing I like best about running is it's all about personal records. PERSONAL achievements.

And we all have to start somewhere.

What do you think about this topic? We'd love to hear -- just leave us a comment or email us at

My opinion? If you're out there doing it -- running, walking, whatever-ing to complete a marathon -- kudos to you! We all have different abilities, stresses, situations, training plans, feelings on race day, you-name-it to deal with. What's the benefit of having a fiercely competitive attitude? If you're lightning fast and feel we're ruining the sport, just leave the us in the dust. That's fine by me. But don't make me feel bad about my time, please!

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