Sunday, October 25, 2009

Go Fast or Go Home?

Recently the New York Times ran an article that really pissed me off.

It wasn’t about healthcare legislation, the recession or the Yankees.

It was about me.

Well, not exactly, but close enough that it got my attention and my ire.

Reasonable people might disagree, but to me the gist of the article was: if you aren’t an elite athlete, don’t even try to run a marathon [and as a natural extension of this elitist bullshit attitude, don’t even think about competing in a triathlon or endurance cycling event . . .].

“Tens of thousands of runners are training for marathons this time of year. . . 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.”

Really? Are you kidding me? Just because I’ll never – let me repeat – NEVER – win a bike race, I disrespect the event by entering it? Who gets to define “racing” versus “participating” and what makes one more intrinsically respectful than the other?

I train. I push myself to my limit. Just because I didn’t win the genetic lottery and am not “athletically gifted” I should not participate?

Based on the fact that there are now 400 comments to the article, it hit a nerve with many people.

What do you think? If you can’t win, should you stay home? Is it inappropriate to have the goal of simply finishing – whatever the event may be?


  1. So if I can't cook like Julia Child, I should just use the drive-up window at Mc Donald's. And no one should have children unless we can be assured that they will be Nobel Prize winners. And if I can't write a book, I damn well better not read it. And if I'm not healthy, I probably shouldn't be breathing up someone else's air, or eating food that the real athletes need. ... or ..... or.... Balderdash!! If they can't be respectful of those who enter, support their corporate sponsors, and pay fees that probably get turned over to the winners in some fashion, THEY should stay home. And let the REAL athletes participate for the honor of taking part in something bigger than themselves. Peggy

  2. UGH!!! I can see how that got you fired up. I guess I better put my TRI dreams to rest if that is the case. Though I don't say that I am "racing" just participating. The only person I am trying to beat is myself (well, and maybe the 65 year old lady that is faster than me:-0)