This post on Laura’s blog sorta brought up a topic that I know has been discussed to death on this blog, but felt like I had to bring it up again…
Seems like lately in the blogosphere, there are people who don’t define themselves as runners until they have done a marathon, or run a certain amount of miles in a training run.
As you all know, I strongly disagree with that-and I do believe in the whole “running is not marathoning” thing (thanks jbl!) Hell, I defined myself as a runner long before I even toed the line of my first half-marathon. While it was an eventual goal to run a marathon, I had plenty of time to get there and you know what? Racing shorter distances is actually fun! It doesn’t always have to be about the 26.2, though I do respect those who do prefer that.
But outside the blogosphere…I too, have seen the bias towards longer distances. The weekend I did Broad Street, was also the weekend of the Brooklyn Half and several other marathons. You can guess which runners got the most kudos and congrats-yep, the marathoners, followed by the half-marathon runners. Never mind that I ran probably my best race ever to date, still felt like pulling teeth to get any congrats. Not that I was actively seeking them out. But why is it that I have to remind people that racing and personal achievement happens at all distances, long and short-and deserves to be noticed? And an explanation I was given was that “the marathon is the ultimate distance that people achieve to run, that deserves congrats.” Does that mean that those who want to focus on shorter races are considered “slackers” or “wusses” and don’t deserve the kudos? Would I have gotten more recognition for running a mediocre half-marathon instead of a kick-ass 10-miler, just because it was 3.1 miles longer and had the word “marathon” in it?
As one of the Flyer captains, I do try as hard as possible to be sensitive to that…yep, there are times that when I email my team, I am forced to mention certain marathon-related announcements. But I really try to make notice that I am paying attention to our team’s achievements in other distances (e.g., the mile, 5K, cross-country races) Or I’ll tell them so in person. I really don’t want those who focus on shorter distances to feel like their achievements go unnoticed and just “buried” in all the marathon mania.
So where am I going with this? Well-as someone who will be running her 2nd marathon this year-I will say, I do respect the distance, I respect the time and energy needed to train for it, I respect those who finish, I respect those who’s favorite distance is the marathon and like to run them frequently. But guys-please respect the shorter distances too. Just because runners like em short and hard (the mileage and effort…what were you thinking? :-p )-that does not make them slackers or wusses-or “non-runners.”
Those are my thoughts on the topic-flame away!! 🙂