I just read an interesting article mentioned in RW Daily (Runner's World's daily blog) about mediocrity in running. The premise is that today, any ambulatory person can run; to be celebrated, one must only complete a short race. Real accomplishments, such as fast times, are sought by few. The article, Nice Guys (and Girls) Finish Last, can be read here.
I have often noticed this trend in my short time running. Everyone does 5ks and 10ks, and touts themselves as a Runner. Many seem to not care about time, running etiquette, or improvement. Sometimes, I feel that my (small) accomplishments mean nothing when mixed in with this milieu.
This is not to say that I am a fantastic and accomplished runner. I am not. However, I am far from the recreational 5k-er that might walk half the race. I average close to a race per month, and train at least at a moderate level. I've worked to improve my times a lot in the past year, and constantly work to get better.
A few things resonated with me about this article, and made me think of my pet peeves with recreational runners:
1. When I start a race, I expect people to line up at the correct pace markers so that everyone can efficiently (and safely) start the race and get to goal pace. This means that if you plan on walking, DON'T LINE UP AT THE 6 MINUTE PER MILE MARK.
2. During a race, don't make it impossible for faster runners to pass you. (This happened to me a few weeks ago, when a group of about 6 people held hands across a road about 1/4 mile from the finish).
3. If I am talking to someone about doing a marathon, I really don't appreciate my effort being compared to a walk-a-thon fundraiser for cancer. It is not the same thing.