6 reasons I do not understand marathon culture

Ahhhhh, that time of year again.  Time to pull out the porta-potties, and block traffic.  Time for everyone on Disney property to use one route to get to work.  Time for sweating, and chaffing, and alpha units.  That’s right folks, it’s marathon time.  Now don’t get me wrong, plenty of people I know and love train for marathons,  run marathons, love marathons… but perhaps the other 75% of people in my life may not understand this marathon culture that others seem to live by.

1. MARATHONS ARE EXPENSIVE

I would’ve loved to be the person who decided to charge people to do one of the most basic things a human can do… run (or sometimes walk).  Throw in a t-shirt, and maybe an interesting setting like Disney World and you have a full blown event where people will pay you money, they start running when you tell them to, and don’t stop for 26.2 miles.  And to top it all off where does that money go?  Sometimes charitable things, but not always, and do people still pay to run… or walk.  YES!   Because if I run in this highly publicized marathon with a paper number pinned to my chest it means more than if I run 26 miles on my own.

2. MARATHONS ARE LONG

There will never be a day I get up in the morning and say, hey: I want to run for 5 hours today.  I mean, really?  I understand some people say you get into a zone and from there it is awesome!  I have never run long enough to get into any zone where I wasn’t bothered with the fact I was running.  I’d sooner spend 5 hours watching a Golden Girls marathon on Lifetime.  I’d sure feel better when it was over.

3 out of 4 Golden Girls can’t run marathons, but I wouldn’t put it past Betty White

 3. MARATHON RUNNERS DRESS STRANGE

Nothing says running until your body runs out of glycogen like a stupid outfit.  Not only does your body feel like crap,  you look foolish too.  Costumes to “cleverly” captioned T-shirts make any marathon spectators day a little more… interesting.

Speaking of those T-shirts, you know, the ones that say:

  • “If you can read this, you were just passed by a fat guy.”  Nice, that’s the spirit of a race you don’t really WIN.
  • “In my dreams I am a Kenyan” – granted you aren’t the significant portion of the population that regularly starves and is heavily dependent on food aid you’d be a GREAT runner.
  • “I’m 80 years old, and I’m in front of you.”  Not after you trip over my foot and break your hip.
  • If found on the ground, drag across finish line” … I get it, this is a challenge and it’s miserable, and you joke that you might not make it.  But dude, you signed up for it… and your entry fee does not cover body removal.  Also, the fat guy who passed you a couple t-shirts ago would sooner Nike imprint on your face.

But worse than that are the fact supporters of runners have to be exposed to exposing spandex body suits, super short running shorts, tutus, speedos with capes, and other strange themed running costumes that threaten to out do your local comic con attendees.  And does it get worse from there… sure does!  Because towards the end not only are runners wearing something that makes you feel uncomfortable, they have sweat through it… and then, the icing on the cake, they wrap themselves in aluminum foil so their bodies don’t shut down as you have to uncomfortably watch with pride.

The only person more uncomfortable than me… is you

 4. MARATHON ROUTES WILL SHUT DOWN YOUR TOWN

Cue the orange cones, the mile markers, and the traffic signs directing you to the ONE free road in your neighborhood.  Drivers beware, you will now be inconvenienced because a herd of people enjoy a good run.  So maybe you are trying to get to work to make money for real things like putting food on the table, or buying a new pair of non-running shoes-  but hey, these runners have spent their money to go for a run through your town.  You shouldn’t be annoyed that now you have to leave early- to get to work on time – to take an alternate route – because you can’t travel down a street that wasn’t even made for runners to run down in the first place.  That’s totally fair.  And what do you get for your inconvenience?  Maybe a glimpse of the action; runners running faster than you can drive because you are stuck in traffic… and then of course your boss telling you “you should’ve left earlier.”  Nice.  He probably has one of those lame 26.2 stickers on his car.

I get it you like to run -- why even have a car?

 5. BLOOD, SWEAT AND what the hell is THAT?

Ick.  Just ick.  First of all, it is acceptable to use a porta-potty in the following places: a fair, a concert, or a construction site.  Who would want to try to un-stick a stupid sweaty running outfit (see #3) to sit on a toilet that other runners just sat on, or crouched over, apparently trying to control their bodily functions that are all out of whack because they have been running longer than a Lord of the Rings movie.  EW!  I’ve even heard the really serious runners either don’t have to go, or don’t worry about pissing themselves with marathon excitement (or is it excrement).  And do not even get me started on the chaffing that occurs on a cold day.  Ick.

I have to go to the bathroom, where!?

6. IT’S A “RACE”, BUT IT DOESN’T MATTER IF YOU WIN

There are sensible reasons in life to go for a run.  Maybe you want some cardio activity- RUN.  Perhaps you are a Wide Receiver and you catch the football- RUN. You are being chased by an alligator – RUN (and be sure to zig-zag).  In a marathon you are running just to… finish?  That’s as sensible as the time Forrest Gump ran just because he FELT like RUN-Ning.

“They just couldn't believe that somebody would do all that running for no particular reason.”

Now perhaps I have too much of a competitive spirit that racing “myself” and improving my time would not do it for me.  I would look at runner number 37952 in the tutu and say, I’m gonna beat that guy!  But no, marathon culture is not about winning, it’s about accomplishing.

Hey, at least they finished!

You know that saying “it’s not about the destination, its about the journey.”  In a marathon IT IS about the destination.  You want to get to the end.  And basically the journey sucks.  The journey is what you put yourself (and your poor body through) to accomplish that finish.

You tell them Kate Gosselin! Wonder how much she paid for a babysitter while she ran a marathon…

Then you have a t-shirt and sometimes a medal to show for it.  Oh, and maybe a picture of you looking like hell because you’ve been running for 6 freakin’ hours.  And once your hands aren’t numb anymore, your shins stop splint-ting, and your knees don’t feel like those of an 85 yr old- you may feel an incredible sense of pride… once you change out of that stupid outfit.

No really, you look ridiculous.

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