Thursday, September 26, 2013

Running Judgment

So today, I admit, I am fired up.  I have had two things blog related that have popped up this week, and combined with my new attitude towards running (less focus on time, more focus on enjoying it), they have got me going. 

Let's just admit it, there are a lot of runners out there that are judgmental.  Whether it is judging the outfit the person next to you is wearing, or judging the distance you can run, or the biggest one, the time you can run in, some runners can be pretty mean. 

I have been following a blog for the longest time, with an awesome woman behind the wheel on it, Amanda.  She and I have many similarities: we both are step moms, we both struggle with weight issues, we both have Boston Terriers (well, mine is a cross, but still), and we both would, at some level define ourselves as slow runners.  Amanda posted this great blog post yesterday:

In summary, someone at the Wall Street Journal decided to print an article about how pathetic young runners are, how slow they are, how they aren't taking running seriously.  How we are turning races into "parades."

I read this after I had reviewed my stats for my blog out of curiosity, and found someone had found my blog this month by searching "big girl running" - ouch.  It hit a real spot with me.

I have so many problems with the judgment that the Wall Street Journal, and others have of slow runners, of runners who are starting out, of runners who are doing this for fun.  It's our LIFE.  Leave us alone!!!!   As Amanda pointed out, some people are running despite great odds.  For her, it is 5 knee surgeries.  For people I ran with this weekend (at the Army Run 5k), it was this kind of obstacle:

Statistically, there are more women running these days than any other time in history.  Women cannot run at the same speed as men.  This does NOT mean we are lazy or unmotivated.  People tend to have less time to train, and don't put in the same 70+ hour weeks that some men used to do to train for races in the 1970's.  This does not mean that races these days are turning into parades.

What the shift in our generation does mean is more people are getting out there and running.  Running is no longer owned by the elites.  It is becoming about the masses.  There is nothing wrong with having races available to people to start running in a society where obesity is an epidemic. 

The article points to our generation embracing mediocrity, but they seem to be equating mediocrity with being average.  Since when is average not ok?  Not everyone is the star basketball player, or the best academically, or able to earn a million dollars.  Why isn't ok to be good at some things, and average on others? 

My opinion is that I am average, in many ways. 

I am average with my weight.  I don't think I am a "big girl running".  I wear a size 8 - since when is that big? 

I am an average runner.  I am working towards the elusive goal of a 5k in 30 minutes, or a 10k in an hour.  I'm close, but not there yet. 

I am a mediocre blogger - I drop off too easily, and I am trying to fix that.

Everyone is running their own race.  It is cliche but true.  We all have our own demons we are facing, and if doing a race through mud, or through coloured powder, or with a tiara and tutu stopping for pictures on the way makes you happy, do it.  Your goal doesn't have to be about time, and you don't have to come first.  Finishing any race is an accomplishment, and it means you are focusing on you and your health.  I will never judge you for that.

Have you judged another runner?  I admit, I have.  Usually related to race outfits or pictures. 

Have you been judged?

What do you think of the Wall Street Journal article?


  1. No doubt we all judge others from time to time, but for what it's worth my experience is that runners are less judgemental than the average. What seems to unite the running community is generosity towards everyone else who runs, however slowly, however badly. You either run, or you don't, and once you're in the community you're accepted as a member.