In 2010 I ran my very first marathon……the Boston Marathon. I ran with a great team and helped raise over $250,000.00 for Mass Eye and Ear. I ran the same 26.2 miles every other person did that day, crossed the same finish line and got the same medal, yet to many in the running world, my victory wasn’t an earned one and I simply bought my way into the marathon and took the EASY route. Easy route?! EASY ROUTE?!? Is there such a thing as an easy route to training for a marathon?? …………………..Yeah, I didn’t think so.
I had never given it much thought, but the moment I became a “charity runner” I became aware of the clear divide between qualifiers and charity runners and it wasn’t just based on speed and time. I encountered several qualifiers that not only looked down on charity runners but were actually upset we were allowed to participate in the Boston Marathon. Upset we “stole spots from those you earned it”. I was in shock that there was so much anger and hostility towards people who accomplished the same goal or finishing 26.2 miles. Yes, I may have done it slower than you, but didn’t we both run it significantly slower than the SAME people that beat us both and won the marathon? Yes, it’s HUGE to qualify, but then again, how many of us get asked why we are running marathons if we don’t stand a chance at WINNING? (It’s all in perception).
The bibs that are given to charity runners do not take away any bibs for qualifiers. The BAA didn’t dip into the qualifying pool to secure these bibs, they simply MADE MORE…..JUST for charity runners.
Charity runners deserve just as much praise as those who have qualified. Who is to say raising $5,000 for a passionate cause is better than running a marathon under 3:10 or vice versa? The two just can’t and shouldn’t be compared, we’re all here to do the same thing people, run 26.2 miles.
So hats off to those who have the talent and determination to qualify and best wishes to ALL that line up at the start for any marathon. It’s an accomplishment for every single person out there and should remain a positive experience for all. Don’t knock those that did it slower than you because I’m pretty sure there is only one person that can say they did it the fastest, and my guess is if your focus is on those “damn charity runners”, it wasn’t you.
And to end with the words of a fellow blogger that summed it up much better and less rant-y than me……
“Some people get accepted into fine universities solely on the strength of their previous academic achievements. Others get in on the basis of their athletic prowess. And some are admitted because their parents and grandparents attended the university and they get a legacy boost. Regardless of how they get in, if they complete the requirements for graduation, they all get the same diploma. No asterisk. I don’t care how somebody gets to run in the Boston Marathon. Once they’ve completed the race, they get their medal and whatever bragging rights come with it. No asterisk.”
Good day. God speed. Good run.