The New York Times ran a super interesting piece yesterday.
Plodders have a place, but is it in a marathon? by Juliet Macur explores the sentiment among some more “elite” marathon runners that, basically, slower runners shouldn’t be welcome in marathons.
Some of these runners seem to be even resentful that slower runners are allowed, like this lady – >
“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?’ ”
And this person ->
In a debate on the Web site slowtwitch.com, someone posting as Record10 Carbon wrote that more than half of the people at a marathon are just overweight and “trying to get a shirt and medal … looking to one day tell a story about the saga and the suffering of their 11 minute pace ‘race.’ ”
This lady, too ->
Longtime marathoners like Julia Givens, a 46-year-old marketing director from Charlottesville, Va., still find ways to differentiate the “serious runners” from those at the back of the pack…… “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,’ ” said Givens, who finished the Baltimore race in 4:05:52.
Dear Ms. Givens, How dare you. “Those people” paid the entry fee, traveled to the marathon location, and hauled their tush the same 26.2 miles you did. They trained, they sweated, and they finished the marathon. How dare you detract from their success because of your own snobby qualifications? They crossed the finish line, too, and shouldn’t have to apologize for not being as fast as you.
Dear Record10Carbon, You know what? Many of the people at marathons have used running as a way to get in shape. I’m a Motivational Member of Sparkpeople.com, and I can’t even tell you how many pages I’ve seen where people turned their unhealthy lives around using running/marathon training as their workout of choice. Like you “elite” runners don’t run in part for the bragging rights. Shut up.
The article points out that it’s the slower runners who make up the bulk of marathon participants, and that their entry fees pay for a lot of the substantial costs of putting on a marathon.
You’d think snobby elitists like Givens would be pleased that THEIR entry fee is more affordable thanks to these slower runners.
Here’s the thing. I’m not ever going to run a marathon, and I’m fine with that. If I ever do a half-marathon, I’ll consider myself a champion of the universe and brag all over town until people tell me to shut up. But, I did some math.
Hypothetically, let’s say I run an 11.5 minute mile. (Good enough for me, even if Record10Carbon looks down on it.) A marathon is 26.2 miles. Assuming I kept that pace the entire 26.2 miles, I would finish in 301.3 minutes, or 5.02 hours. But that’s assuming I never slowed down. Or stoppped at a hydration station. Or took a bathroom break. (I’m sorry, but being one of those runners who loses bladder control while running is NOT on my list of things to do in my free time, thanks..)
I can see my race time coming in at 6 hours, no problem.
The New York City Marathon officially ends after 6.5 hours (though they keep timing until 8 hours and 40 minutes..)
I’m a Plodder, and I’m fine with that. I’ll never come in first, but that doesn’t mean I can’t enjoy running and feel a massive sense of accomplishment even at the end of merely a 5k.