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When a "marathon" isn't a marathon...

Posted May 23 2012 1:26pm
Okay, I need to rant.  I didn't have it in me to correct my friend. 

mar·a·thon/ˈmarəˌTHän/
Noun:
A long-distance running race, strictly one of 26 miles and 385 yards (42.195 km).A long-lasting or difficult task or operation of a specified kind.
We've all overheard people talk about the "marathon" they just ran, only to later learn it was not 26.2 miles but something less.  Brace yourselves, here comes the snobby runner in me...  A MARATHON is only a MARATHON if the distance is 26.2 MILES.  That's it.  Period.  End of discussion.  If you run any other distance, it is not a marathon.  If you run 13.1 miles in a half marathon event, you did not run a marathon.  I'm sorry to burst your bubble, but a half marathon isn't the same experience as a marathon and you cannot call it one.  It simply isn't.  The distance isn't "half the effort".  The marathon is not "twice as hard".  It really bothers me when people claim to have completed a marathon when they haven't. 

A friend recently posted on Facebook that she had run a marathon that morning.  It was her first running event and she was super excited and pleased with herself for finishing -- and she should be.  Any running event (or other athletic endeavor) should be applauded.  However, to call it a marathon when it wasn't 26.2 miles?  Come on, people!  A few days later she posted again on Facebook that she's now addicted to marathons and looking for another one to do.  I hate to look up people's times because it really doesn't matter, but I was curious just what she did.  It wasn't a marathon.  It wasn't even a half marathon.  She ran a "quarter marathon".  Sheesh!  Who came up with that one!? 

Yes, I'm a running snob.  My friends are running snobs, too.  Not because we feel superior to anyone else (you all know I'm not a fast runner or a great runner for that matter) but because we've experienced the marathon.  We know the time that it takes to properly prepare and train for a marathon.  We know the commitment that a marathon requires not only from ourselves, but from our families.  We know the mental games one faces when the later miles get tough.  We know the physical things that happen to our bodies whether they be blisters, lost toe nails, chafing or more serious problems.  We know that a marathon will change a person.  It changes how you approach life, how you solve problems, how you view the world around you.  You are not the same person after a marathon.  It's impossible.  The marathon is such an incredible experience that it changes you all the way to your core

So don't tell me about your "marathon" when what you really did was a little more than a 10K.  Respect the distance.  Respect the time, work, and devotion that a runner has who covers 26.2 miles.  It isn't a cake walk, nor do we want it to be. 

Want to hear my thoughts on "jogging" versus "running"...?
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