More on slow marathoners…..

Wow!  I am all worked up over this slow marathoner debate.  I know that this has been a debate for a long time and it is even creeping into the ultra realm as well.  Although in the ultra realm most people are more of a serious soul type inside so it is a little different.  Ultra runners seem not to be desiring so much being a part of running a marathon but taking part in a deeper part of themselves.  Anyway, back to what I came here for.

Did I graduate if it took me one year longer?

Did I get born if I am younger or older than you?

Did I make it to work if I am 5 minutes early even if you were 10 minutes early?

Do I have to be you to be me?

Do you have to be me to be you?

Do I have a successful career if I make less than you?

These are all questions that are based on the same argument that slow runners are not real runners.  It is a matter of definition.  I chose to define running as well, “moving along faster than my normal walk”.  HAHAHAHA  You don’t get to define my experience and I don’t get to define yours. Ringmaster made a point when she talked about  staying to the end of a marathon and watching the last finisher.  Dang that gave me chills.  This is serious business.  The last finisher gets to partake in the equisite joys of accomplishing something they were not exactly sure they could.  They wanted to be able to from the start, but at that final moment they leaped from fear, doubt, and maybe-ness right on into belief, wonder, thankfulness, and reality.  THEY DID IT.

My gosh, I am sure that I have felt like I was better than someone else in many ways, but this argument has really helped me to appreciate each person’s achievement.  It is their achievement, they own it, nobody can take it away.  It is sad that another person would try and take it away with cutting words.  I mean heck, most people never run a marthon and this includes most elite athletes.  Does this mean that they are not runners.  Does this mean that their efforts for betterment are wasteful.  Oh no sir!!!  This means they are running the way they want to run.  The way they need to run.  The way that makes their life better.

Running is an opportunity for someone to make better in life.  To feel better in life.  To enjoy better in life.  Running of course is just one way, but it is a way to improve many areas.  Of course I find Jesus as the main way, but running has helped me tremendously and I have actually had to counter the horrible thoughts that some of these people send my way about running.  People telling me that if you walk during a run i’m are not a runner.  Hey man, you try running for 4 hours by yourself in the rain after your ipod battery dies, walking feels good at that time. It probably added like 5 minutes to the whole experience.  You don’t have to hate running to be a real runner.  You don’t have to put yourself through major pain to be a runner.  All you have to do is partake of its goodness.  That is it.  If you want to be a marathoner, partake of its uniqueness.  You may never want to run one again or you may want to run them all the time. 

It’s up to you.  This is the beauty of running AND marathoning.  It is all up to you.  You can decide when to go, where to go, why to go, and how to go.  You can get a coach, you can read a book, you can run lots or you can run little.  My wife runs about three times a week for three miles each time.  This babe is a runner.  She has been more consistantly then me over our marriage.  She gets out there and that makes her a runner.

What makes a runner a “marathoner”?  All it takes is the partaking of it.  Drinkers drink.  Dopers dope.  Workers work.  Lovers love.  Eaters eat.  Speakers speak.  Marathoners marathon.

To all of you who worry about those purists who say that you aren’t a real runner or a true marathoner, DON”T WORRY.  These people are not the majority.  These people would do this type of cutting in other arenas of life too.  YOU are not their problem, THEY are their problem.  They are chosing to let someone else ruin there little glory.  You don’t have too.  Get on your feet.  Get moving.  Get to the finish line.  There will be someone there happy as hell for you and if there is not, you always have you to be proud of. Keep it up ya’ll.


11 Responses to “More on slow marathoners…..”

  1. 1 Meg
    October 26, 2009 at 5:19 pm

    Thank goodness that the snobs are a tiny minority. I told a co-worker today about a guy in my running club who ran his first marathon in 6 hours, 10 minutes. The rest of the club (including our resident Boston qualifier) was SO proud of him, yet my stupid co-worker said, “I’m not impressed by someone who takes that long to finish a marathon. I could walk that fast.” The longest run the co-worker has ever done in his life? 5 miles. He also said that if you didn’t finish a race wanting to throw up, you didn’t try hard enough. Whatever. I could’ve just as easily said to him that I wasn’t impressed with him because he doesn’t run nearly as far as I do (I run half-marathons), but I wasn’t going to stoop to his level.

    I truly hope there are enough positive, supportive runners out there to counteract the negativity from others.

    • 2 run4change
      October 27, 2009 at 4:53 am

      MEg, most of the people in or watching a marathon are uplifting and inspireing. Most of the people are good hearted souls who appreciate that they are part of something bigger than just themselves. Part of a sea of people experiencing a unique test. Forget about the naysayers.

  2. October 26, 2009 at 6:58 pm

    Jason – I am totally loving this series of posts you’re doing on being a “real” runner. I find your words very motivating to me. I may write a post about it even. Thank you for bringing up this topic – I think it will encourage a LOT of people to just get out there and start, to try, to finish.

  3. October 27, 2009 at 8:37 am

    Love this post! You know I ran my first marathon this year and although I came in dead last and only had a handful of people there at the finish line, I still finished!! That’s more than a lot of people can say. I never get asked how long it took me when I say I’ve ran a marathon. Just to hear me say those words, you see in their eyes the amazement and respect they have for me. That’s what makes me feel good. To those that complain and say you aren’t a runner because you may walk, they need to take a step in our shoes. There are people who walk marathons and guess what, they are still a marathoner!

  4. October 27, 2009 at 2:19 pm

    SO TRUE! Thanks for your post. I coach for TNT and had a couple finish their 1st marathon in 7:52. Yes, 7 hr 52 min. But they are just as much (if not MORE) marathoners than my 4 hr finisher. It’s hard to be out there that long! And 26.2 is 26.2 no matter how you do it.

    • 8 run4change
      October 27, 2009 at 6:31 pm

      This is something that many of the faster runners don’t think of, TIME ON YOUR FEET. 7 hours on your feet is the exact reason that most marathoners don’t do ultras, yet the back of the packers do it all the time. 🙂

  5. 9 mikki
    October 27, 2009 at 6:13 pm

    Jason, my heart swells with pride and gratitude at your comments. I finished my first marathon at 4:50, my “PR” was a 4:38–and my slowest was my best, funnest and hardest effort. I finished the Pikes Peak ascent in about 5 hours–oh, it was hard and I admire the people who do the round trip in that, but it was hard and fun. And my dad told me “Hmm. I guess that’s a fast walk.”–and he was mocking me (he’s never run a marathon). That hurts. It’s so courageous for anyone a to stare 26.2 miles or more in the face and plan on tackling it on foot, and anyone who is so small as to try to minimize that effort is simply being small-minded and mean. I have as much admiration, and probably more, for the people who finish in the back of the pack–behind me, even, than the professional runners. It just takes guts to put it out there like that. I did a sprint triathlon a few years ago and all the finishers gathered and waited for the last person to finish–a woman who must have weighed over 300 lbs, and her friend who stood on the run course with a sign that said “The courage to try. . .”–the memory brings tears to my eyes, and that’s what I think about when I need a boost. Let us never forget the words of The Penguin: The miracle is not that I finished, the miracle is that I had the courage to start. And for anyone who wants to minimize the rewards of trying and doing, we can only hope that they can find some comparable fulfillment. Your words are soothing and inspiring; your questions are probing. When are you writing a book? (and you’re not Dr. Oz or Dr. Weil, and that makes your words oh so much stronger). Thank you.

    • 10 run4change
      October 27, 2009 at 6:28 pm

      THank you so much mikki. Your comment was wonderful to read. Also, I have had many tears jerking moments in my races. The most amazing one was during a marathon I saw a woman with a sports bra on that said I survived. SHE ONLY HAD ONE BREAST. I said, “hell yeah!!” In my mind. She was doing it. She was not ashamed. She was letting it all hang out and was going to conquer the marathon. One breast and a sports bra. I was totally touched. I will never forget it.

  6. 11 mikki
    October 27, 2009 at 6:16 pm

    By the way, I just wanted to add: WAY TO GO BRANDI! GOOD JOB! I’m so glad you are proud of yourself. You should be!!

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