I saw a recent post by Runner’s Wold Magazine SA on their Facebook page asking this question, “What’s the one thing that annoys you most about running races?”
I started to read through the posts and I was shocked to see how some people responded, in a way looking down on those who are maybe not as advanced or talented at running, in fact a lot of comments were directed to “walkers” and the frustration and irritation they seemingly cause to so many people. I also reacted to the question. I must add, I was not totally surprised about this angle because I have seen it a million times on social media, the battle between runners and walkers.
To me, when reading these comments, one word came to mind and that word was “consideration” or lack thereof. People must just be more considerate and the other half, more tolerant.
We must remember that every person has a story to tell and we all have our own reason why we do what we do. If you take some time to pause for a moment and listen to why people are walking, running or Park Running, everyone has a story and everyone started somewhere. You might find that most started off by in the gym, later added the odd walk around the block, maybe challenged themselves later at doing Park Runs. Some might stop there, others might go on and be tempted to do short distances at races like 5 km and 10 km races and maybe go on building up to longer runs like doing half marathons. Others will get really hooked and decided to push those boundaries a little further and take on marathons, ultras and yes, the “crazy” ones, like me, will take on “The Ultimate Human Race”, Comrades Marathon. Fact is, we all started somewhere.
My running came only two years after I started to loose weight and ultimately allowed me to join the Bible Society of South Africa ( BSSA ), running for Bibles, but ultimately lead to the birth of my own charity, Run4BibleRands ( www.run4biblerands.co.za ) and this is now my motivation to inspire other runners to join me to make their miles and moments count for something more than just a medal or sore legs, but concerting race kilometers to rands and donating that to the BSSA. To date, since I started in 2015, we have made it possible for the BSSA to give away for FREE 1564 Bibles to those who need it most. This year only so far we have donated R 37 963.82 to the Bible Society, making available 643 FREE Bibles. All this made possible because for others it is about running for a cause, running for more than just themselves.
I must be honest, I am admittedly also one of those who also never understand why non competitive runners & walkers always have to push their way to the front knowing that they will not be under the top ten or so. You will always find those who will have total disregard for the requests to fill up from the back, they will always be late and always push and shove to get to the front but ironically you will never see them on the podium. There must be some reason why people do that, but that is their problem and prerogative, but yes in the process, and according to many posts in response to the question asked by Runner’s World Magazine, without doubt, these individuals are causing a great deal of irritation to many.
For me personally the races just became too large and this for me started to create a negative overall experience. Because I am happy that people are going out and doing their part to get fit and enjoy a morning out, I must say I now prefer running on my own, or go out with a friend and do a buddy run. I enjoy it more and it leaves me with a better overall experience. Maybe the effort is not as intense as one will get at races, but that is fine too. On the other hand it has a great deal to do with self discipline when you do the runs on your own and not in race format. This however has nothing to do with others. If races are your thing I say, enter, get up early and go do your race and build a better you. Kudos to you and everyone else.
There is a down side to doing your own thing. I miss a lot of familiar faces and times of fellowship at races, but I guess everything in life has it pros and cons but this is what works for me now. I am doing a few hand picked events I like throughout the year and the rest of the time I am doing a combination of gym and road work.
There were also other comments, but I am not even going to comment on littering, ridiculous increase in the cost of races and things like that because this is something I can’t do anything about. Ultimately it comes down to accept the things you cannot change, have courage to change the things you can and have the wisdom to know the difference.
Breaking other people down and being all negative about everything has no positive outcome anyway so no need to go there. To those who like to “race” – enjoy. Those who don’t, enjoy what you do too. Whatever you do, do not stop doing what you love because that is all that counts. Work towards a better you, no matter what it is.
Happy running everyone.