Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Why I am Going to (Try) and Never Complain About Race Times Again

This is a bit of a rant for me. I will be posting my review of the Bournemouth Marathon soon. However, I felt like this one was more important.

Everyone has felt the elation of hitting a PB or smashing a goal set out for yourself. Conversely, everyone has felt the pain of failing miserably to obtain that goal. It's depressing. It's sad. We all have those moments.

What is starting to annoy me (and I will be the first to raise my hand and say I am guilty of this, and it's something I am trying to be more conscious about) are people saying, "Oh man I only did race x in time y, I am so slow and such a disappointment" when in actuality, there are people who would LOVE to have those times and just have not gotten there yet. Maybe they are happy where they are. Maybe they are starting with a different goal and working towards another one. Maybe they will never get there and can only dream of it. Regardless it's a bit callous and we should be thinking about our audience.

If you are with a close group of friends/people who know full well your goals and aspirations that's different. When I did Run the Boroughs, everyone knew about it and I shared it fully. Everyone knew my ups & downs throughout because I made my goals clear. But to just blast out on social media "OMG so slow only 1:35 half marathon time..." makes people think,"Oh I am only hoping to get around 2:00 is that slow? Am I not trying hard enough? I don't think I will ever get there..."

Maybe I am being too liberal snowflake here.  Let's look at the two statements below:

Statement One: If I ever run a half marathon that slow again I will stop running. 1:45 is unacceptable.
Statement Two: I did not achieve my target time in the last half marathon. It was incredibly warm and I was unprepared.

Which of those is more useful? Both make it clear the runner did not hit their goal, however the second one implies something was gained from the experience and it is not so negative.

I know I have done this quite recently and have almost instantly realised what I am saying is a poor choice of words. To those people I apologise. I am really trying to change how I talk about my running/racing results.  We all have different goals and aspirations and we should be respectful of those.

Some people are more 'thin-skinned' than others and in a society where people over glamourise the thin beautiful fast people we should realise that everyone is trying to better themselves. There are people who only run at night because they are embarrassed or they get taunted/harassed. We should be welcoming and encouraging THOSE people to reach their goals and aspirations in a safe environment free of ridicule. Sometimes all it takes is one comment to make someone hang up their running shoes forever or make them finally have the courage to sign up for their first 5k. Let's all try for the latter.