I asked this lady which races her daughter ran-were they the big races? She said her daughter ran mostly local races because she didn't like travelling too far from home by herself. That puzzled me-how many marathons can an area have in one year? Then it dawned on me what was happening here-I asked the lady "How far does your daughter run when she does her marathons?" She told me her daughter ran 13 mile marathons. I explained to her that her daughter ran half marathons, not full marathons, and that a full marathon was 26.2 miles.
This lady then explained to me that a marathon was any race over 10 miles and her daughter ran them all the time. She was very sure of herself and I got the impression that I would not be successful if I tried to argue with her about what constitutes a marathon, so I changed the subject to something more suitable, like the best recipe for lemon bars.
I wondered later that night about the daughter. If she was indeed running half marathons on a regular basis, then she really was an experienced runner. I wondered if the daughter knew her mother was telling people that she ran 13 mile marathons and that a marathon was anything over 10 miles. I would be mortified if my mother did that (hi Mom!). I have tried to educate my family about the ins and outs of running so that if they mention my running, they don't embarrass themselves with inaccurate bits of information like this woman.