Oh, the torment bred in the race,
the grinding scream of death
and the stroke that hits the vein,
the hemorrhage none can staunch, the grief,
the curse no man can bear. ~Aeschylus
I’ve recently been drawn into some conversation/debate regarding the rising popularity of “running events.” By running event I mean an event that while involving running from a starting point to a finishing point does not have as its primarily goal to get between those two points as fast as possible. They tend to fall into two different categories, Happy Happy Joy Joy and Kill Kill Kill. Perhaps you have seen what I am talking about?
People that know me well, know that I really and truly believe people should be able to do whatever the hell they want as long as it doesn’t hurt anyone else. That goes for what you do with your private bits (or any other part of your body for that matter) to what you do with your money or your vote. So please don’t mistake what I’m going to say next as me hating on something another person takes pleasure in.
I’ve said before “I may not be an elite runner, but I sure as hell am an elitist runner.” Never is that more evident than when it comes to my opinion of what a race is. For me, a race is a competitive event in which 2 or more athletes run from point A to point B as fast as they can (or often times just faster than the other people in the race.) It doesn’t matter if you run a 30 minute 5k or a 13 minute 5k, if the primary reason you are going from point A to point B is to beat someone else or to see how fast you can do it you are running a race. Anything else, and you are participating in a running event… not that there is anything wrong with that. And it isn’t always event specific I think 2 people can be at the same place running the same course at the same time and 1 can be running a race while the other is enjoying an event that involves running.
People run for lots of reason, people also enter races for lots of reasons. I do both to see how far I can push myself mentally and physically. I take great pleasure in racing and competing, for me it is what running is all about. I take the process very seriously even though I wouldn’t consider myself generally a very serious person. So while I think it is great that people are getting outside and having fun, I’ll never consider covering yourself in paint and going for a jog the same thing as running a race.
Someone once asked me if I considered running a real sport. I said that I did not. Running isn’t a sport, just like dribbling a basketball or throwing a football aren’t sports. Running is just something you do while in a race… but racing is most definitely a sport.