Saturday, November 03, 2007

Whine, Whine, Whine

Another arrogant asshole whines about citizen-runners doing marathons. He says:

Has this country's marathoning spirit been trampled by hordes of joggers whose only goal is to stagger across the finish line?

He dismisses Oprah, who ran 4:29 at the Marine Corps Marathon, as "a middle-aged woman hauling her flab around the District of Columbia. If Oprah could run a marathon, shame on anyone who couldn't.

When Oprah expanded the sport, she also lowered the bar for excellence. For the previous generation of marathoners, the goal had been qualifying for Boston. Now, it was beating Oprah. Her time of four hours and 29 minutes -- the Oprah Line -- became the new benchmark for a respectable race ...

Once the supreme test for hardened runners, the marathon became a gateway into the sport. Soon, gravel paths were crowded with 5-mile-an-hour joggers out to check "26.2 miles" off their life lists. Team in Training, which raises money for leukemia research, promised to turn loafers into marathoners in 20 weeks. I met a lawyer who started running because, "They say if you can run a marathon, you can do anything!" The marathon was no longer a competition. It was a self-improvement exercise."

What's wrong with running being an exercise in self-improvement? How are 4-hour, 5-hour, 6-hour marathoners dragging down elite runners, as this writer, Edward McClellan, states?

He goes on to say:

"In the last 15 years, the Chicago Marathon field has increased tenfold, to 45,000. But with this change in the running culture, the average finishing time for men has dropped from 3:32 to 4:15 -- not far from the Oprah Line, or my own performance. Last month's Chicago Marathon had to be shut down mid-race, because undertrained five- and six-hour marathoners couldn't handle that much time in the 85-degree heat.

McClelland has run one marathon, in 4:16, a time he deplores. He ends the essay by stating:

"I'm ready to do my part. My bum knee just carried me through a half-marathon. Next spring, I'm going the full distance -- and I'm going to do it in the spirit of the first running boom, in under three and a half hours. I may even wear a cotton T-shirt and a sweatband.

Hope you slather on the Vaseline, Edward. And don't look behind you. That'll be me, gaining on you and ultimately passing your cotton-clad ass.


  1. Oh my - he sounds rather conflicted, doesn't he? What a weird rant. Do you suppose it's a lame attempt at sarcasm?

    He just shot himself in the foot which might make running 26.2 a little harder.

  2. i'm so sick of these whiners. put up or shut up. bum knee eh? a REAL runner would run through that!

    (p.s. that was sarcastic.)

    i'll never understand why these people give a rat's ass about anyone's performance but their own. Never.

  3. what a goof! hope that cotton t-shirt rubs him the wrong way ... big time!

  4. I was so mad after reading his I posted my own rebuttal...

  5. I dunno that he's an a**hole. I think he has a point of view that supposedly is a cherished tradition in America (someone who thinks, and expounds upon it). The dumbing down of America is a concern, which I think he's after, as for instance in the classroom where in public schools they now teach multiple choice answers to SOL's vs. engaging for 50 minutes in real discussions about concepts (us thinking parents decry this trend).

    I strongly endorse anyone getting off the couch and venturing into the streets. So all of you improving (or not) marathoners, way to go! I don't think Oprah hauled flab around DC so much as she went 26 miles. Good for her! I also know that good runners at that race resented her jamming herself and her entourage onto the front line of that marathon at the last moment, a moving-mass that runners seeking a sub-three hour run had to navigate around. Perhaps the author's "whine" is one about racing etiquette. (Have any of your readers ever complained about walker/runners stopping suddenly when they're spread out six abreast?) I also agree that I hope for his sake that he goes "modern" when he goes 26 next year and puts on nip guards if not vaseline.

  6. What really chaps my hide is that there is a huge obesity problem in our country. I think if ANYONE is motivated to run ANYTHING, we should celebrate and support them. And Oprah expanding the sport is awesome -look how many chubbo's (myself included) she got off the couch and in a pair of running shoes!

    Good post!

  7. Maybe it's just me, but I found the article humorous. Was that the point? Sarcasm? Don't know. But I've run 14 marathons and a couple of ultras, and I'm not even remotely fast or competitive (it was a big day when I broke 4 hours). Maybe I'm one of those he complains about. But I can agree with Peter--I've bitched about race-walkers and slow joggers lining up at the front and completely blocking traffic.

  8. eh, i always always ignore these people and consider themselves arseholes. seriously what does it matter to you if i run a 6 hour marathon? if it makes him miserable, sucks to me him because i'm damned happy :)

  9. That assholes best marathon was 4:16 and he thinks people like me are ruining the sport?

    He shoots down Ryan Hall as if he was some sort of pretender to the thrown, and hails Meb as our last great marathoner, but fails to mention that no one (Meb included) could keep up with Ryan as he danced along over the last 10 miles on Saturday.

    Unflipping believable. What real gets to idiots like this is the fact that tens of thousands of people are running marathons each year faster than anything he could ever accomplish "back in the day". Sounds like sour grapes to me. It must be tough to know that even old farts like me can beat his best times.

  10. Well I kind of liked and agreed with the article. There is room for everybody in this sport - we must welcome all, but its a good thing to set your goals high. Far too often we are too easily satisfied or rationalize our performances, it eventually leads to an exit path from this great sport. Ask Oprah about her running now...

  11. I agree 99% that's the guy's an idiot. The 1% - well, I'm all for people making a genuine effort to get off the couch and do some physical activity.

    I don't care what your marathon time is as long as you give it your best shot - but is it too much to ask that you try at at least run the thing, at least some part of it, any part of it, like for instance, the first few yards? If you can't run AT ALL, should you really be at the start line of a 26.2 mile long journey? Would that be like me lining up for the Western States 100, with the goal of walking the entire thing?

  12. Clap clap!

    You rock.

    What a prick that loser is.

  13. I hate to say it but I love the idiot label!

    At least I ran my last two marathons ahead of the esteemed Mr. McClelland.