I don't think I had stopped glowing from the Electric Run when I saw this article come across my feed.
The Slowest Generation - Younger Athletes Are Racing With Less Concern About Time
Read it. It's good stuff. Some high lights include this photo caption "A lack of competitiveness among younger runners is turning some races into parades." and the linking to a blog post called "Dumbing Down, Slowing Down". Yep - You get the gist. This article is largely about how younger Americans are totally lazy and slow. "The lack of competitiveness in the newer generation should be concerning to us all!"
[enter more 'cry for action' type wordy words]
I, for one... am totally offended by this article! I mean, I know one CHOOSES to be offended and you can let it slide, but I CHOOSE to be offended! I have a few 'novelty races' under my belt now, none timed... all a BLAST! In addition, even my races I hadn't set a goal for, I just wanted to get out there and finish.
I didn't recruit my friend Sara to the half marathon by talking about how fast we were going to be... in fact, I warned her I was going to be sloooow. I said "imagine running down that street! Listening to our feet hitting the pavement next to the sound of the bubbling river! Seeing the leaves of the trees just starting to turn! Feel the crisp, almost fall, air in our lungs! It is going to be amazing!" I was not intending to go fast, or even see how fast I could go. I just wanted to run!
Heck, Traci and I didn't even time ourselves at Color Me Rad! (We regretted it, but whatever...) Come to think of it Matthew and I didn't even look at the time at Foam Fest either!
So, as far as the article goes? Guilty... so guilty. Does that mean you calling me lazy?
Lack of competitiveness! Everyone gets trophies! We all hold hands! We all win! It's a travesty, we are killing competitiveness!
And to that I say...
More people are participating in sporting events than ever before. Be them novelty races or Boston qualifiers. The numbers cannot be argued. People are now seeing runs like The Color Run and obstacles races like Tough Mudder as obtainable. They are setting their sights on these races because it feels like something they can do, and something that they can have fun doing! Race prices are reflecting that races are becoming big business because they are ever increasing and even small town, well run marathons are having to use a lottery system because demand is so high.
What is the harm in giving people an active goal that they can achieve? Crossing a finish line, no matter what pace? The more they do it, the faster they will naturally get anyway, and the healthier they will be. Who are other "athletes" to judge? Really who even cares?
As a newer runner the elitist attitude is embarrassing.
The whole reason I started running was to be able to not keel over and die while doing the Princess Half Marathon at Disney World. Is that going to be a competitive race for me? Nope. It's not about the race, it's an experience. It will be my first time at Disney World, I can't wait to see what new sights are around every corner. I need to take it all in, slowly.
I am the only person I am competing with, and even then... if I score a new PR? Good on me. If not? Meh.
Isn't it about feeling alive? It is for me.