Lately, I’ve been seeing a lot of what I would call “pace-ism” in running. People posting negative comments about slow runners. Belittling their accomplishments. Claiming they aren’t runners because they’re so slow.
I really don’t understand this opinion. Who cares if someone else is running slow? Sure, I agree that if you’re slow (mind you, I’m a slow runner and I own it), you should make sure that you’re not getting in the way of faster runners. But other than that, why does it matter?
I suppose some races fill up quickly and some of those spots are taken by slower runners, but that isn’t the fault of the slower runner. They’re just faster at registering. But on the other hand, the reason there are so many races is partially due to the slower runners. More people who want to run races = more races. More runners spending money on gear = more gear.
In my opinion, speed doesn’t matter. Sure, it’s great if you’re fast and you can win age group awards. I will never be one of those runners. Well, maybe if I’m still running in my 80’s. Of course, I know an 80-year-old woman who is faster than me now, so maybe not. But that’s okay.
A local 10k gives a prize to the last finisher in the race. And it’s not a joke prize – I believe it’s been a running watch in past years. The point isn’t that the person finished last – the point is that they dedicated themselves to the distance and even though they were last, they didn’t quit. In my opinion, that takes more guts than coming in first.
One of my favorite things is watching the end of a race when the last groups of finishers come in. So often, the looks on their faces are just amazing. Grins and happy tears and such amazing pride. So what if they’re among the last finishers? They clearly have accomplished something great.
Now, I’m not trying to belittle the fast runners. I have many friends who are fast runners. And if you’re fast, that’s awesome too. I don’t think slow runners should belittle fast runners and vice versa. We’re all individuals. No one is the same. And running is a great sport where you can do it with a group and still perform individually. You can show up to a race with a group of friends, all run your own race, and meet up at the end to celebrate everyone’s accomplishments (preferably with waffles). And regardless of how you finished, you should be proud of yourself and of your friends. You all did something great.
Kim and I are on the same wavelength about this, as she posted about something similar earlier this week.
You are awesome for just getting out there and moving. Your journey is no one else’s but your own and you need to own it!
Run your own race. Run your best. If that means you run a 4 hour marathon, awesome. If that means you run a 7 hour marathon, awesome. Do your best. If you hit a PR, congrats! If you have a rough race but struggle through, congrats! Don’t compare yourself to others. Compare yourself to you.