Random Rantings and Ravings from a Slow-Poke Runner in the Heart of the South. (A Weeekly (sort of) Blog about running and just about anything else)

Sunday, November 13, 2005

The Globe and Mail: Marathon threatens to bar JeansMarines

The Globe and Mail: Marathon threatens to bar JeansMarines

In the article linked above, a group of women called "Jeans Marines" cut off about four miles of the Marine Corps Marathon so they could make the "cut off" time and receive a medal for finishing the race. Someone should have told them that making the cut-off time doesn't mean cutting off part of the race! The race director asked them to return their medals and is considering barring them from future races.

There has been a raging debate over the last several years as more and more walkers are getting into the marathon scene and entering races. The debate goes like this: If you took seven hours to finish the race, are you still a "marathoner" and deserving of the same medal of the runner who trained for months and ran it at a clip of 7 minutes a mile?

Now, I am no marathoner. The longest I have ever run is only 6 1/2 miles. But if I do ever decide to complete a marathon, for me anyway, I won't feel like I have really "run" a marathon unless I actually run the majority of the course. Personally, I don't think walkers should be excluded from marathon races. These groups often have great fundraising causes and generate a lot of buzz for the sport. But maybe there could be two categories of medals. One that is given out with the title "Marathoner" embrazened on the medal. It is for those who finish at a certain pace for their age and gender category - kind of like Boston does for qualifying times but at slower paces. The other medal could have "Finisher" on the medal and is for those who "went the distance" at any pace above the cut off.

To me, this would ease a lot of the confusion over who is a "marathoner" and who isn't. I think it is shameful that anyone would cut off a significant distance of a run and I hope the director does take a hard stand with these folks so that everything a marathon stands for will not be tarnished. After all, those medals mean something!

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