Now for my RANT about the 1% in the running community

Excuse me folks, but I need to get this off my chest.  If you would please just oblige me for a few moments while I clear out the disgust I’m feeling for some of our very own.  

Every group, be it social, political, cultural, or whatever, has them.  The 1% that shall be called “HOLIER THAN THOU”.  Can I just say that I had a run in with one of those people yesterday, and it really ticked me off.  

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Yeah, a person came across as he was just better than everyone else.  A person that spreads hatred, or arrogance around like fertilizer.  I think he must have been covering up for inner shame, or a very small member.  Something!  

Runners as a community I have found to be overall very accepting, and open to all.  New runners, experienced runners, young and old, tall and short, skinny and overweight, black, white, you name the color.  We are a varied bunch, a group of people seeking fitness, health and often times in a competitive nature.  But, like every other group known to man, the 1% does exist.  

I’ve felt it before.  Haven’t you?  Standing in the start of a race, getting that holier than thou glance from someone near you.  Judging you.  

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I guess it’s common to be judged in life.  Just most of the time, it’s not fair judgement.  You know what they say about sinners and casting stones, right?  

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Let’s all get along.  Simple, right?  Well, not really.  There will always be the 1%.  I choose to stay as far away from them as possible though.  In a nut shell, let me tell you the store from yesterday.

I am a member of the running group/club called Half Fanatics.  A paid, and until yesterday, a happy member.  It’s not anything I gloat about.  When I first started seriously running a few years ago, I admired people who could run further than me.  It’s natural.  Watching folks compete in a half or full marathon was something that gave me an inner drive to accomplish something more.  Well, eventually I ran my first half marathon, and loved it.  Distance running and racing became a passion of mine.  I aspired to be able to qualify for a club such as the Half Fanatics.  I qualified in 2011.  I paid my fees, and bought a shirt.  I did it!  It meant something to me.  An accomplishment.  Something I could hang my hat on.  I’ve never worn the shirt, because I don’t need to advertise it.  In 2013 I qualified to become a Marathon Maniac, another running group.  It was then that I realized that for me, I didn’t need to pay to join a club or buy a shirt.  It’s enough for me just to know that I could if I wanted to.  

Ok, background established.  We all have different goals.  Mine are personal, as I’m sure yours are as well.  The success or lack thereof I get from running is mine.  Mine alone.  It’s internal, it’s for me.  I can choose to  talk about it or not.  I try very hard not to judge.  I’m not perfect, but I do try to be as good a person as I can be.  

I’ve seen a lot of posts, and a read a lot of negative comments from people in the Half Fanatics and Marathon Maniac groups lately.  It’s almost like it’s becoming an elitist club, or is at least taking on that air.  Yes, I know that the holier than thou attitude comes from a very few, but it really sheds a bad light on the group as a whole.  I had posted in one of those groups on Facebook yesterday, soliciting feedback from a race this past weekend that I am really considering running next Summer.  I just asked that anyone who ran it, to please share their thoughts.  I was almost immediately attacked asking what was in it for me.  I thought, can we not just share race experiences in an open forum.  Solicit feedback?  Wow!  I was so taken aback that I just deleted the post before this guy got out of hand.  I am an ambassador for the race series in question, but hadn’t run the race, and stood to gain nothing from the general chit chat other than to find out if people enjoyed running it.  I like to talk about “the runner experience”.  I want to know the good, the bad, and the ugly.  It helps me make decisions on if I will spend my money on a race.  It’s no secret that I like to share my experiences, take them for what they are.  If I can help a person make a decision to run, or not, a race in the future that is my right.  Judge me if you want, but I am just trying to spread the love of running around.  This guy was just a first class jerk, and I hope to never bump into him at a race.  If being a Half Fanatic now means that somehow I am better than you, or that you are better than me or someone else, then I want no part of it.  I am pretty sure this club was not established to drag down our running community or act as a pulpit for those to cast stones or shame other runners.  Just floored me, the ignorance.

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I guess until this feeling subsides, I will just plan on focusing my thoughts on the positivity around running and our community.  I will not let the actions of the heavy minority weigh me down.  For me, we are all out there putting feet to pavement.  Regardless of how fast or slow you are, if you win the race or come in last.  Our community should be joyful, and celebrate each other.  Let’s try to do that, shall we?

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13 thoughts on “Now for my RANT about the 1% in the running community

  1. No matter where you go, there are always a few a-holes around. I’m a double agent with MM & HF and the groups are quite positive as a whole. But unfortunately it’s sprinkled with a few people who have chips on their shoulders or want to prove something to themselves (heaven knows what). I had a similar experience last week on a FB chat board where some guy was saying how fast of a course the Disneyland Half was. When I mentioned that it’s actually a race with one of the slowest median times (due to congestion, picture takers and walker) and has bottlenecks in the theme park and near Angel Stadium, he got all nasty. First, trying to say how wrong I was repeatedly and then went on to gloat that he’s so fast he never has to deal with bottlenecks or congestion so he’s clearly right. Some people just are deserving of a good ole fashioned throat punch.

  2. Geez- I’m really shocked this happened in an MM/HF group because generally they seem to be pretty cool and accepting but I guess the 1% of crazy mean runners can inhabit those groups too.

    I know a person who falls into this category. I paced the Charleston half last year, and my pacer time was 2:30. I had another runner tell me that the committee must not think much of me placing me with such a slow group of runners (my half PR is 1:49- I haven’t raced a half since 2012). It made me extremely sad that he would say that and the ladies I paced were all very sweet and did great in the race. It was also a cold day and in fact, I think it is tougher on those running that pace bc you are in the elements and on your feet longer!

    • See? Now your example is exactly what I am talking about. Our sport should be all about acceptance and inclusion. That was a very nasty comment. You were chosen for that group for a reason. Your exuberance and spirit to help those folks achieve their dreams. Obviously you could have paced faster groups, but that group needed you. I am pacing two half marathons this fall, and don’t know my groups yet. It really doesn’t matter to me. Pacing is volunteering, and I would be happy to help whatever group I am placed in.

      • Thanks, yeah I enjoyed it! Honestly it was one of the most fun race experiences I have had because I went into it with the mindset of encouraging everyone on the course rather than a time goal! I also told them I would pace in 2015 as well. It was a nice easy long run for me.

  3. I see a lot of that and the biggest problem I see is those holier-than-thou people discouraging others from trying. I say, it doesn’t matter how long it takes you to do anything, just get out there and do it. I really don’t understand how someone can think they’re better because they’re faster, but I do see it very frequently and feel I am shunned quite a bit because of it. Oh well, I probably wouldn’t get along with them anyway. I just hope to goodness I’ve never done that and many time, will not mention Boston when I say “my last marathon” so it doesn’t seem braggy.

    • It’s really unfair, but you see it everywhere, not just in the sport of running. Regarding Boston. You earned it, you should be able to talk about it, without fear of seeming braggy. No worries there.

  4. There are a few haters out there. Like a rattle snake, they strike at the oddest moments. I believe these people have a tremendous amount of pain and fear, whatever you said struck this individual as threatening. I try to have empathy, and like a rattlesnake, let it cross the path or side step away from these folks. It’s best to forgive from afar. Sorry you had to go through that.

  5. There fickle people out there that make it their business to give everyone that are doing something worthwhile a hard time:) the cliche “1 bad apple ” comes to mind. I’m really sorry that that happened to you. Unfortunately though that’s life. We all at one time or another have had our share of people who are just total dickheads.

  6. You know what would really upset someone in a “running” club? Let a race walker in! See how they like that! But yeah, I know what you mean. I get that look all the time! “What is she doing here?” Well….I tend to pass a lot of people, and that is what keeps me motivated and as I remember, unless you’re the very 1st person to cross the finish line, we all are kind of in the same boat….just pushing to get a PR or better ourselves & be healthy! 🙂

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