I just can't let this go. I've been thinking about the New York Times article in which faster runners are complaining that those of us that are plodding away at the back of the pack are somehow ruining the mystique of the marathon.
If there is some sort of mystique about the marathon that is based on how fast you can run it, perhaps the distance should be reserved for the Olympics-that would really give the 4 hour marathoners a goal to shoot for. Or go one step further-as one commenter put it, if we want to preserve the "mystique" of the marathon, then everybody who runs it should be naked, and die of heat stroke.
I'm thinking that the runners who don't want your average Joe running a marathon want to keep the race for themselves because running is how they define who they are and running marathons makes them really special; thus, if the average person can complete a marathon then the faster runners aren't all that special, are they?
The interesting thing is, since the article came out, I've read comments from some truly elite runners-the people who can actually win a marathon. They all seem to share the view that a marathon is for anybody who wants to train for it and complete the distance-the more the merrier.
Don't get me wrong-I think the 26.2 miles should be respected and no one should attempt a marathon without a solid running base and months of training. I will be the first person in line to discourage an inexperienced newbie runner from signing up for a marathon. It takes months of hard work and discipline to prepare for a marathon. But if you've been running a few years, and have a decent running base, and you've trained for a couple of half marathons-I say go for it. And stopping on the marathon course to have lunch-not cool.
Finally-one last comment about the runner in the article who will accost people in marathon shirts, ask them what their time was, and then make a nasty comment if she deems their time too slow-the fact that she is capable of doing something so mean and small speaks volumes about her character. I guess every sport has its bullies..