Thursday, September 26, 2013

Do you have to be competitive to be a runner?

A few days ago, the Wall Street Journal posted an article titled “The Slowest Generation.”  It’s a scathing report about how my generation is not competitive enough when we run races, that we are basically running one long, slow parade.  This article really touched a nerve with me.  Here are my thoughts…

They start the article picking on the Color Run.  While I am not a fan of the color run (I hate how messy it is!), I think the author is way off in his assumption that just because it’s not timed, it’s not a really sporting event.  The way I see it, if someone is up and moving that is a good thing.  If they are running or walking a 5k, it’s much better sitting on the coach.  I don’t care if it takes them two hours to complete the 5k; they are still doing something healthy for themselves.  Why knock that? 

Next, the author compared the Tough Mudder events with the Spartan race serious, making the Spartans seem more serious and valuable to do because they timed.  Why does an event being timed make it more worthwhile? 

The article them discusses how American’s are becoming less competitive in the world distance running. 
This is a topic I admittedly know very little about.  As much as I love to run, I do not follow professional runners.  I bet the author would not like that either…

We cannot all be competitive distance runners, that is just a simply fact.  We all do not have bodies that are not built to be competitive runners.  We all do not have the desire to be competitive runners.  I am admittedly one of the people the author is writing about.  I don’t even know my time on the last half marathon I ran—I simply don’t care.  I do races for the fun, for the experience, for the time with friends.  I am more worried about my cute race day outfit than I am about my goal time.  Yes, I train for every event I do, but my finish time does not dictate how I feel about myself or the events I do.  To me, the bottom line is that more and more people are getting out there and crossing the start line.  This news could not be better in my book!  Here in America, we are facing a growing obesity crisis.  It is out of control.  The obesity crisis costs us billions of dollars each year in health care costs, lost production etc. If running through clouds of colored corn starch gets people moving, that is an awesome thing!
What do you think of this article?  I would love to hear your opinions!

A dream is a wish…



  1. I didn't like parts of the article etither. Timed or non timed events shouldn't matter it gets people off the couch and active. I am competitive to a point I want to beat my previous time or I will see people ahead of me and use it as motivation to pass them. But I don't have the body nor will I ever to be super quick top runner or eliete nor do I want to be. Races are to be fun and I plan my outfit out weeks in advance.

  2. Completely agree with you! I don't get what is the problem with people getting out there and running, who cares if it's timed and if there weren't slow people, then the fast people would have no one to beat! LOL

  3. I'm only in competition with myself -- and I applaud anyone who gets up off of the couch and makes an effort.
    People like that author are they type that make runners look like assholes.
    Can I say assholes on your blog? ;)

    1. Fine by me, lol! I think competition with yourself is healthy...the need to win is not. Thanks for all of your comments ladies!

  4. I agree that I do this for myself. I started too late in life (age 48) to be competitive. I love my outfits and picking them for races and all the friends that I've made and blogging and having fun.

  5. Oh, wait, I need to get out my tiny violin because someone who is fast is angry that they're fast and no one else is... I took issue with a lot of the things in the article. Wah wah wah you're all so slow you're ruining it for me! It's just like when those women started showing up...

    Let these old men attend a the model UN conferences I went to with a bunch of overachieving high schoolers trying to get into an Ivy League school and then tell me my generation isn't competitive.

  6. What is funny is that the people quoted all sounded like "in my day, marathons were uphill in the snow both ways; kids these days are different from me and it makes me uncomfortable". If other people aren't as competitive, how on earth is it impacting them? They should be happy they are getting higher ranked finishes. I am very competitive (not like I win but I really want to!) but I have nothing but respect for every person who does the training (no matter how fast or how slow) and gets out there to the starting line. That is a HUGE accomplishment!

  7. That article just makes me angry. I WALKED the Color Run and had an absolutely amazing time and never stopped to consider that it was a waste of time because I stayed with my friends instead of trying to be better than they are. *eyeroll* This takes caring about what everyone else around you does to a whole new level! Sheesh.

  8. I am NOT competitive!! I do like to find someone and try to beat them, BUT, I am not competitive!! AND I have as much right to be out there as those who run a 6 minute mile!!