“Stay home slowpokes”

8 hours.

In 8 hours I am boarding that plane and taking off to a country I have never been to. To run a race I have no business running in. To prove to everyone and no one that you shouldn’t fear the unknown. Or something like that. Ok. I probably just lost my marbles and haven’t realized it yet. Don’t tell me until I get back ok?

2 Days, 17 hours, 47 minutes, and 51…50…49..48 seconds

In 2 days, 17 hours, and some change, I will line up with 510 other individuals to climb, stumble, and suffer up the Carpathian mountains for the 3rd Annual Subcarpathian Ultramarathon. Yeah. Definitely lost my marbles somewhere……. I bet they are some where on a race course.

I have been training….mostly. Getting my runs in. Doing a serious amount of squats and lunges every 30 minutes or so while at work (desk job). I have even gotten a smidgen faster. Although truthfully nowhere near my 2011 PR busting times. I have been feeling a little more confident about my upcoming race and being able to beat the clock and the 5.5 hour cut off for this 30k up the mountains.

And then I read this. Plodders Have a Place, but Is It in a Marathon?

Basically some woman (a coach, no less) is calling out marathoners who finish in over 6 hours or stop to walk. These “participants” are not “racers” and should basically not be competing in the events. They are lessening the sport. How dare they?!

Obviously I am a slow runner. And obviously this coach misses the main point of modern marathons. Every one of those individuals is racing. Not against each other, but against themselves. They are going for a personal best. They are racing against obesity. They are running for a charity that is near and dear to their hearts. They are setting an example for their children and every single person who lines up and cheers. They are telling people that they refuse to sit by and become another statistic of heart disease or any other disease that states lack of exercise as a risk factor. How dare they try to get healthy?! The nerve….

The only thing that coach should be mad about is the slow runners who line up in the front, because honestly that is just dangerous. Totally legit thing to be mad about, but don’t pick on us back of the packers who know our place. The front of the pack may be racing for a win, but the rest of us are just racing for ourselves. Our health, our pride, our families, and the joyful exhilaration of crossing a finish line exhausted. We crossed every inch of those 26.2 miles the same as you did and while it may have taken longer, it certainly didn’t mean less to us. Ask me. I finished last in a 50 mile race that was one of the most humbling experiences of my life. The conversations I had with myself that day are practically legendary (at least I think they are….my brain was kinda hazy after the first 30 miles).

Just ask Patrick Downes. No one seems to have a problem with his 6 hour marathon. People are applauding him. Adrianne Haslet too. Despite spending nearly 10 hours “running” the Boston marathon she received a tweet from the president himself on how strong she was. These people are out there proving something to themselves. They don’t care who finished first.

The moral of the story? Don’t discount someone else’s journey just because it took longer than your own. Most of us will never be elite runners and we just want to enjoy the ride at our own pace. Even if it is a 16 minute mile one.

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