Wednesday, May 23, 2012

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

Okay, I need to rant.  I didn't have it in me to correct my friend. 

  1. A long-distance running race, strictly one of 26 miles and 385 yards (42.195 km).
  2. 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"...??


erinmalia said...

haha. last weekend i did a REAL half-marathon, but i would never ever think to say i ran a marathon! of course not. who are these people?! of course i did have someone ask, "so how long was it? like three miles?" uh NO. and just because you're just getting started running (which is GREAT of course) don't think you can go out, with zero training, and run a marathon. or even a half. running is hard and takes time and work.

clearly i also have strong feelings. i respect you AND your distances. :)

and what ARE you opinions on running v jogging? i always felt that jogging was just slower, but i'm not sure. is it a frequency thing for you? a speed thing? i'm curious!

Amber said...

ahhh thank you. I have never run [or even jogged!] a marathon but I have done a few half-marathons. I never claim to be a marathon runner..that's for the people who have ACTUALLY RUN ONE to call themselves. one of my friends "runs" half marathons and will brag on it until she is blue in the face and how she did 4 of those before she even did a 5k! and the kicker..she WALKS most of it. there's a difference, honey. drives me nuts. I *sweetly* ask her when she is going to RUN the whole thing and she just responds with "oh, I dunno..I couldn't even run the whole 5k, so who knows." ....?!?!??!?!

TootieFlootie said...

Yes, Yes...I am always correcting people when I complete a half when they compliment me on my "marathon". Well, it was a HALF, and I'm always mindful to correct it, since I have run a whole, and it's a HUGE difference. As for the jogging vs. running thing? Yeah, that's downright snobbery. It's not nice to snub slow runners, which is exactly what I think that debate is all about. And besides, we all have changing paces for our various distances. Are we "jogging" our marathons and "running" our 5ks? I would argue that we are not.

cherl said...

I have a great deal of respect for any person who is motivated enough to train for a running event, regardless of distance or speed. My favorite distance is the Half Marathon and I always call it what it is.

Jogging vs. Running: I don't think it has anything to do with speed. I think there's a difference between running and racing, but that's another topic. For me, "jogging" is what you do when you are without any motivation, goals, frequency to your runs. "Running" has purpose. You have a goal, maybe it's personal or maybe it's an event. You eat, sleep, drink the sport of running. To me, that's who a runner is. I cringe when people ask me about my "jog".

Kelly(M&M) said...

The only time I am bugged by the misuse of the term "marathon" is when it is said by a newscaster or journalist or someone else who should fact check! Otherwise, people just say it out of ignorance, so it doesn't bug me too much. :-) I will try to correct them nicely.
As far as running versus jogging, I tell my couch to 5k group that there is no such thing as jogging. I do not like that term. Anytime you are lifting both feet in the air at the same time, it is running in my book!! I feel like I am running, whether it is a 14 minute mile with my new runners, or my fastest mile in 5k. I was really bugged when I read somewhere that "jogging" is anything slower than an 8 minute mile. I definitely do not agree with that! I liked your perspective, Cherl!