12.01.2009

NY Times Article: Plodders Have a Place

In case you haven't read it, the New York Times published a story featured around the opinion of Adrienne Wald, the women’s cross-country coach at the College of New Rochelle, regarding "plodders" finishing marathons. I will not try to summarize her words so that I do not mis-speak for her, but simply allow you to read the article written by Juliet Macur. The link is below:

Plodders Have a Place, but Is It in a Marathon?

Today, US Olympian and running icon Jeff Galloway posted his response on his blog and I would like to share it:

My response to the NY Times article: Plodders Have a Place, but Is It in a Marathon?

I'm simply placing both opinions out there and will elaborate on my stance later in the week. Please feel free to share any thoughts in the comments section on the blog or as many of you like to, on Facebook.

1 comment:

Erin Rae said...

I don't begrudge anyone a marathon finish! If marathon entry is open to anyone, then anyone should be allowed to finish in the time that it takes them.

From a race director standpoint (I am on the Board of Directors for the Arizona Road Racers) I can see how an 8-hour finisher could have hugely negative impacts on funding events for the reasons explained in the article. However, from a purely public relations standpoint, no one is looking at the last person to cross the finish line so there really is no negative effect on the "sanctity" of the marathon and it's elite status. People in general will always remember the fastest runners, while the people who come in last really only care that they finished at all. What harm is it to anyone?

To me it's always about finishing. I find myself constantly saying "I'm in it to finish." Then, I'm always surprised by how fast I am, even if it's just two minutes faster than the time before. The awesome thing about running in organized races is the sense of personal achievement. I'm never running against other people, it's always me vs. me.

The response in Jeff Galloway's blog really sums it up: "I've spoken to hundreds of very accomplished people (CEOs, engineers, inventors, artists, professors, even professionals in other sports) who place the finishing of a marathon at the top of their list of lifetime achievements."

If you're so competitive about running that you can't handle the "slow" people, then set your sights on the Olympics! Honestly, do you think someone like Paula Radcliffe gives a hoot about how long it takes someone to finish a marathon?

I could go on and on with comments but I'm going to stop now. I'm sure others will chime in and then I'll get to continue. :-) Great post!!