Okay, let me start by admitting that I’m referencing an article that is more than 3 years old.  Let me also admit that I have no idea whether or not this issue has been blogged about before.  I can imagine the article created a tremendous amount of buzz when it was written.

Edward McClelland wrote the article for Salon.com titled, “How Oprah Ruined the Marathon” in 2007.  I hate to encourage you to read it, basically because I think the guy is an idiot and doesn’t deserve the attention.  However, I do see the irony in the fact that I’m blogging about him now, which was probably his motive.  It reads like a bunch of garbage which is intended to make people mad rather than deliver a rational point of view.  His ultra-elitist attitude towards competitive running makes me want to punch him in the face.  Yeah, I said it.  I’m sure I’m not the only one that feels that way either.

McClelland’s basic argument is that Oprah ushered in the non-competitive runner whose only goal is to “stagger” across the finish line, thereby making a mockery of the sport.  First of all, I’m not a huge Oprah fan, but that really has nothing to do with my argument.  The woman ran a marathon in 4:29.  That’s not exactly “staggering” across the finish line if you ask me.  Of course she wasn’t running the race to “win”.  But at the same time, can you imagine how hard you need to train to finish in 4:29, and have the type of schedule that Oprah has?  I argue that running is not just a competition against other runners, it’s a competition against yourself.  If I run a 4:30 in my April race, I will be pretty durn proud of myself and I don’t care what other runners think about it.  You know why?  Because I’m not a “professional” runner.  I’m a mom, wife, full-time employee, runner, friend, blogger, etc.  Those things consume so much of my time, that I’m proud when I can even find the time to train.

That’s why the amateur runner is so proud of themselves for finishing a marathon.  Our competition is often against the will to give up when things are tough.  Our competition is to find the time to run between a dirty diaper and the next meal that has to be cooked.  McClelland talks about “The running bum — that post-collegiate dropout who works in a shoe store so he can train 100 miles a week” as if he’s some kind of iconic figure that Oprah trampled under foot when she led a brigade of new runners across the finish line.  Is that our measure of success?  The running bum who works at the shoe store and has one other priority?  Please!  Get off your high horse dude!

What do you guys think?  I promise I won’t post a hateful blog about you if I don’t agree with your comment.  Well, maybe! 😉