Be a Rolemodel for Others

I recently heard a story about a runner who had gone from couch potato to training for their first 5k.  They did their best putting a lot of hard work into training their body to be able to go that 3.2 miles.  They knew they'd end up having to walk part of the race, but since the race allowed walkers they figured they'd be in good company.

This runner was doing their best, even though they knew they were almost at last place, but with determination to finish their first 5k ever they pressed on.  As this runner neared the finish line another runner who had already finished the race, made a comment to this runner from the sidelines that they were at the end of the pack and going to come in last.  Then proceeded to loudly make a comment that he didn't understand why people bothered entering races if they couldn't race, he said he saw no purpose in walkers and those who don't train hard for a race to do their best.

What that man didn't realize, this runner did train hard, months of training.  They'd gone from not being able to walk the block, to being able to walk/run a 5k.  For this runner this was in incredible accomplishment.  All this faster runner did, was steal another runners smile and their glory and make them feel bad about themselves.  When this runner finished thee race, they said they never wanted to enter a race again.

What is wrong with coming in last?  Absolutely nothing! 
What is wrong with a faster runner telling another they have no business entering a race?  EVERYTHING!

When I heard this story, it broke my heart! 
Not that its possible, but I wish we could ban negative personalities like this from running races, they give runners a bad name!

Yes it's true some people enter races and don't train.  But is it really up to us to decide who does and who doesn't?  Just because someone doesn't fit "your" idea of the size of a runner, or the pace that a should be in a race, is it up to you to decide if they belong there or not?
It isn't, and frankly never should be!

Truthfully, those runners/walkers at the end of the pack might be those that have some incredible and inspiring stories behind why and how they got to that race.
The fact is, runners/walkers come in all shapes and sizes.  I have had runners who weigh considerably more than me, pass me in a race like there was nothing to it.  I've also had times where I have passed smaller runners who look like they should be in the lead and not behind me.
The thing is, you can't judge a person by their size or speed.
I've talked to runners in races who have told me their normal times are much faster, but they pulled something early on and just wanted to walk/slow run the race and finish.
My point is, you just never know. 

A person could receive a hundred compliments and cheers, but it just takes one negative comment to ruin everything.  In my opinion, making a rude comment or sharing a negative opinion you have about another runner to them in a race or from the sidelines is a form of bullying and it is very, very wrong on many levels!

Once ran a marathon in Idaho and when I was in line at the famous runners port-o-potties, I was having a little chat with another runner.  The topic came up, of how will you do and so on. 
She said to me, I plan on coming in last. 
I said to her, I doubt that, people say that, but I doubt you will be.
She said, oh I could probably finish around 5 hours if I wanted too.
Then she said, I actually travel around and enter marathons and I do come in last, on purpose. 
Of course I asked why???
She told me, because someone has to.  If it's me and I want it, then that is my choice, and that way everyone in front of me, doesn't have to fear being the last one to cross the finish line.
I remember at the time, not quite sure what to think about it.  But as I was running that race myself, I realized that is a pretty selfless thing to do.  She has fun with being the last person, and quite possibly she's doing it for a good reason! I decided, all power to her!

Why I don't recommend others do this, unless it makes you happy.  What I would recommend is this.
If you enter a race, any race, any distance, any speed.
No matter if you finish at the front, middle or back of the pack.  Make a conscious effort to make sure you are not putting anyone else down because they are "too slow."
You don't know their story, you don't know if they didn't train and coming in at the back is what they get for it.  Or if they trained their heart out, and coming in towards the end is the absolute best they can do!

Be an example to both runners and spectators of our great sport.  Take on the role as role model for others.  Cheer for everyone the same, no matter if they are first or last. 
Even when you are not at a race, make sure you are always speaking highly of all who are attempting to do any sport.  I'll quote Ellen Degeneres "Be Kind to One Another"

So let me ask you, what would you do if you heard another runner putting other runners down?  Or if you're okay in saying, have you ever been a victim of a rude runners comments before?

1 comment :

  1. Great motivation for us in holding our events too.


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