We are the slowest generation. And what’s wrong with that?
October 18, 2013
Hey ya’ll! It’s Friday! (Whoohoo) and I’m finally getting around to writing this blog post as it’s been on my mind for weeks now.
A few weeks ago, Kevin Helliker of the Wall Street Journal lamented about the decrease of competiveness in road racing in his article, “The Slowest Generation: Younger Athletes Are Racing With Less Concern About Time.”
It actually took me a while to read the entire article. After all, I’m one of those slow runners that he’s pointing his finger at. But nevertheless, I finally settled in to read what exactly all the outrage was.
According to his article, “Median U.S. marathon finishes for men rose 44 minutes from 1980 through 2011, according to Running USA, and last year nearly 75% of road-race finishers were 44 or younger, with 25- to 34-year-olds representing the largest age group.”
Essentially the marathon is getting younger, and is also getting slower. Instead of being obsessed about the clock, we young folks just want to finish.
The argument? Is our generation falling into mediocrity because we don’t want to go faster and be the best? Is our nation doomed with a bunch of lazy pants because we’d rather run races that are less about time and more about having fun?
Maybe. And I’m okay with that.
The majority of runners (and walkers for that matter) will never compete at an elite level or professionally. So what’s wrong with the rest of us having fun?
From my perspective, anything that gets more people up and active is a good thing. Whether it’s running through foam, blasts of color or from Zombies, running is a good thing. Personally, I’m not into such things (I have to admit, I did do a zombie run once), but I do understand that it gets people who have NEVER thought about running, an opportunity to experience the sport without all the pressure and hype.
As I begin to think about training for my next marathon (tentatively the Rock n’ Roll Country Music Marathon), half of my focus will be on time, but the other half will be focused on getting physically and mentally stronger. That sentiment can be heard around the running world as other marathoners choose to run as a form of personal growth rather than hitting a time. (Although I do recognize that they can be one in the same.)
Now, many may say that that’s just a cop out. I say, maybe it is. We should all seek to improve ourselves, but at what risk? Overtraining? Obsessing? Worrying? It seems counterproductive to the whole idea of having fun.
That doesn’t mean that there’s anything wrong with focusing on time. Just at this point, in my life, right now, I choose to use the "YOLO" approach to life. Anything that induces stress and anxiety isn’t for me. I choose to use running as my emotional outlet and if that means being coined as a “slow runner,” well cheers!
You can read Kevin's entire article here: http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424127887324807704579085084130007974.html