Night before last, I was scrolling on Facebook before I went to sleep when I came across an article from the New York Times, “Plodders Have a Place, but Is It in a Marathon?”
Despite the title, that already had my blood pressure rising a bit, I decided to read the article… and it just made me so furious. I am pretty sure that I was awake for another hour fuming at the ridiculousness of the article.
I totally get that everyone has the right to their opinion. But, I’m sorry, this opinion is just dumb. The idea that you can only run a marathon if you run at a certain speed? Who died and made you the king of the running community?
One of the reasons I love the running community is because it is SO inclusive. When I first started running, I hated it. I hated every single minute of it and did not understand how people could call this “fun.” I ran really slow, so slow that sometimes I wondered if it would be better if I just walked and ditched the running thing. Over time, I got faster and, not necessarily related to the speed, I found my passion for running and the love for the sport.
Throughout the years, especially through my blog and connections I’ve made because of it, I’ve met a LOT of amazing people. I’ve accomplished enough to join the Marathon Maniacs. Through my journeys, I’ve met some incredibly fast marathoners. I’ve met some marathoners that the NY Times would classify as “plodders.” Despite their speeds, everyone has one thing in common: running.
We love it. We hate it. We have times where it’s a gift that helps us find our passion for life; at times, it’s the thing that we dread the most on our calendar. Whatever it may be, it’s the one thing that unites us and gives us something in common.
Never have I started a conversation with a fellow runner and asked them their pace. Never have I cared. I just like talking about running and the sport, and I don’t give a damn if you run a six-minute mile or a 14-minute mile. I just think it’s awesome that you are just as obsessed about this sport as I am.
Saying that people who run marathons “too slow” shouldn’t be called runners is like calling people who read a book too slow non-readers. Isn’t it incredible enough to find someone in this crazy busy world that loves the same hobby that you do?
Articles like this are the reason that people are scared to attempt to run, or even talk about their running adventures. When we were seeking runners for our Ragnar team this year, I had a few people tell me that they were interested, but didn’t think that they were fast enough to be part of our team.
And it’s articles like THIS, these articles that make people who run think that they aren’t good enough because they don’t meet an arbitrary pace.
Pace doesn’t matter in my book. I don’t care how fast you run. I don’t care how far you run. All I care about is that you are out there, getting your sweat on and experiencing running. Whether you love it or hate it, it makes you part of the running community and part of a club where the roads are always open.
So, sorry, New York Times, I have to disagree with you here. Plodders DO have a place. It’s in the marathon, the 5k, the 10k, the half marathon… wherever they want to go. Because they belong. Everyone belongs, no matter what their pace may be.
Did you read the NY Times article? What did you think?
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