I work part time at a running store on the west coast by the name of See Jane Run, and their social media gal passed around this article this morning found in the Wall Street Journal. The article, "The Slowest Generation: Younger Athletes Are Racing With Less Concern About Time" gives an interesting perspective on us millennials and how we feel about running. One of my friends asked how I felt about it and I posted my reaction on Facebook, but here is it for all of you not following me on Facebook:
I agree that it is great to have themed runs like the Color Run, Tough Mudder, Diva Dash, etc etc available to get people out there and exercising, but when it comes to racing things like the half marathon and full marathon have now become a "bucket-list" items when they were once elite athletes only.
I'm not against these themed runs by any means - I'm thrilled to see family and friends getting out there and running/exercising. I'm also not against folks doing halfs or fulls, or races of any distance for that matter, as "bucket-list" items, I just hope they train wisely and don't wake up one morning and do it without training at all. I am not an elite runner but I do know most folks that are considered elite runners strategically choose which races they will be participating in based on who their competition will be, so they don't really have to worry about running with "novices" - if they do, they chose to run that race!
I am 100% a firm believer that "More 'average' people running = possibility of ranking higher more easily." Something that does perturb me is that "Many new runners come from a mind-set where everyone gets a medal and it's good enough just to finish." This didn't bother me until last year when a bunch of runners were all up in arms that they ran the Baltimore Running Festival 5K and didn't get medals like the rest of the runners in other distances at the Festival did. It was stated plain and clear on the race website that 5K runners would NOT receive medals and to my knowledge it had always been that way in previous BRF races. The BRF crew decided to go out of their way and send all of the 5k participants medals (I'm pretty sure, or they were promising them medals this year) -- this was ridiculous. You signed up for the race knowing you wouldn't get a medal! Your entry fee was significantly cheaper due to this as well!
I do not agree that everyone is becoming lazy. Every race I run I try to make faster than my last; it is up to the runners to set personal goals for themselves, not race organizers. Yes, there are cut off times, but it is ultimately up to the runner how fast they run and what they want to get out of the race - they are paying for it! (Most races are quite pricey these days too!)
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