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?