Check out this elitist view of “amateurs” who have ruined the marathon in this screed against slow runners from Gabriel Sherman in Slate magazine.
Apparently, if you’re not able to run a sub 3:00 marathon like the author is, you’re not worthy of running a marathon at all and you’re ruining it for the “real” runners. So, who died and made this guy the judge of who’s worthy to run in a marathon? Besides, since he’s at the front of the pack, what does he care who’s behind him?
Anyone who runs a marathon is worthy of admiration, in my mind. Someone who commits to running 26.2 miles has already shown more fortitude and self-discipline than 99.9% of our lethargic population. Would Mr. Sherman prefer all of us back of the pack and midpack runners sit on our couches instead of joining him on the road? I guess so.
Part of what I love about non-professional road racing is that it’s unlike any other sport. Unlike most sports, most of the people are not trying to “win”. And it’s the only sport I can think of where you get a mix of genders and age groups all competing against each other, all on equal terms.
Besides, Mr. Sherman is wrong. Those of us who really care about the sport know who Deena Kastor is. We’re just happy to be able to run in the same race with her, even if she’s miles ahead of us. She was miles of ahead of Sherman too, but he seems to have forgotten that.