FanDuel - WFBC

November 15, 2007

How Oprah ruined the marathon: Has this country's marathoning spirit been trampled by hordes of joggers whose only goal is to stagger across the finish line?

posted by justgary to other at 04:23 AM - 16 comments

I didn't know we had marathoning spirit, but to see her fat ass waddle across the line, that would be priceless...

posted by Marko2020 at 05:45 AM on November 15

I read the first portion of the article but every time I tried to link through to the rest of the article I became trapped in an ad. I will say that when I used to do a little distance running it was always about trying to improve my own personal performance. I never really cared who else was out there as long as they weren't underfoot. I would imagine that if you are a world class runner you may be concerned with the performance of your elite peers but in a lot of those big races all of the elite runners get to start in front of the pack so they wouldn't really even have to deal with the cattle.

posted by kyrilmitch_76 at 05:46 AM on November 15

I didn't know we had marathoning spirit, but to see her fat ass waddle across the line, that would be priceless... She'd have her assistant do it for her.

posted by dbt302 at 10:40 AM on November 15

but to see her fat ass waddle across the line, that would be priceless... And of course you'd be watching it from the comfort of your sofa, covered in donut grease and potato chip crumbs. The author of this whine-fest doesn't seem to realize that different people will perform a task for different reasons. I've run marathons and even attempted an Ironman; the whole point to me was if I could force my tiring body to keep going. There was no tangible reward in front of me, there was no danger behind me -- it was simply a test of willpower. What do you call the last-place finisher in the marathon? A marathoner.

posted by joaquim at 12:02 PM on November 15

I think he does have some good points, joaquim, but it's not entirely clear what argument he's making until you get to the very end (which, as I see it, is simply, "If you're going to enter a race, then race, dammit -- don't just finish."). It's a bit like the age-old question of whether Vanilla Ice can/should call himself a rapper: you can humpty-dumpty the definition and say yeah, he was a rapper, but at the same time, he wasn't doing the same thing as Public Enemy. Likewise, those who are racing are doing something different from those who are striving to finish with some combination of walking and running. I dislike the use of the term "ruining": I see the author's point that when would-be finishers rather than racers become the public face of the marathon, in the eyes of the public, the marathon is no longer a race, but I think his logic is flawed when he claims that this leads to a decrease in the quality of elite American runners. If someone wants to compete in distance running at an elite level, are they going to stay away from Boston or New York because there will be a bunch of finishers in the pack? Are they going to train less hard? That doesn't make sense to me. There is, of course, the question of whether a marathon should attempt to be all things to all people, but that's really up to the race organizers, to decide what they want to be.

posted by lil_brown_bat at 01:06 PM on November 15

I hate Oprah. It has nothing to do with this article either.

posted by Drood at 03:11 PM on November 15

Well, she's probably not wild about you either, Drood.

posted by lil_brown_bat at 03:15 PM on November 15

What do you call the last-place finisher in the marathon? A marathoner. joaquim's got it. If we're at the point where we're discussing whether the achievement of completing a marathon is cheapened because so many of us can do it, um, is that not a good problem to have? Some people enter marathons to race, others to finish, and so what. After 26-plus miles, those two groups separate out like oil & vinegar. No harm done.

posted by chicobangs at 03:35 PM on November 15

Looks like a lot of fuss about nothing. Elite runners start at the front in all races of any significance, they never notice the hordes and are long gone from the finish line by the time the masses begin to cross it. "joggers" have no impact on the "race", if the organizers want them in the event, as pointed out, so be it.

posted by Cave_Man at 05:16 PM on November 15

Aren't there something like 700,000 (kidding) runners entered in the big marathons? After the first male, then first female crosses the line, unless I personally know someone in the race, I could care less who else is entered or what their time is. It's their business and more power to them, whether they sprint, walk or crawl to the finish line.

posted by dyams at 06:43 PM on November 15

I volunteered at the finish line of a half-marathon last Sunday. One of the last finishers looked at the time clock at the finish line and said, "I made it in under 4 hours." It wasn't until he went to pull off the race number stub that I realized he had had a stroke that affected the right side of his body. Elites may be the marathon "spirit", but its guys like this who are the heart. I'll run along side, and be honored to get bogged down at a water stop with, guys like that any day.

posted by cardsfan at 10:01 PM on November 15

I'm one of those joggers that staggered across the finish line of a marathon. I've never been happier than to know I'd never have to do it again. I don't agree with this guy, but I understand. It's just a strange sport. I can pay 20 bucks and enter a 5 K and race right along the fastest kenyans (not literally, but you know what I mean). It's like paying to go to a fantasy baseball camp, but it's not fantasy. You're trying to just finish at the same time they're trying to break records.

posted by justgary at 01:12 AM on November 16

I can pay 20 bucks and enter a 5 K.... You actually paid to race? I honestly didn't know there was a charge to enter these marathons.

posted by BornIcon at 09:55 AM on November 16

You actually paid to race? I honestly didn't know there was a charge to enter these marathons. I think it's pretty much the rule for citizen races (some of them can get pretty pricey, too).

posted by lil_brown_bat at 11:00 AM on November 16

You actually paid to race? I honestly didn't know there was a charge to enter these marathons. Really? A small race in Atlanta can attract 20,000 runners. You're talking about millions in expenses. You pay an application fee. You get fed, get a tshirt. When I left high school I played a year in a summer league. That took a small fee also. Not much difference.

posted by justgary at 12:22 PM on November 16

"This was a middle-aged woman hauling her flab around the District of Columbia." He burned up the course at about 30 seconds per mile faster than Oprah, and yet doesn't include himself in the feel-good-amateur-competitive-spirit-wrecking category? He would do well to be a bit more critical of himself than all these other people that are ruining the sport for, well, him, I guess?

posted by Boris at 07:19 PM on November 17

You're not logged in. Please log in or register.