How Edward McClelland ruined my breakfast

4 11 2007

This yarn from Salon called “How Oprah ruined the marathon“, written by one Edward McClelland, presents a good/bad news proposition.

The bad: Reading this tripe has soured my appetite and got me as steaming hot at the Sunday morning oatmeal.

The argument is frankly stale and boring — recreational runners like Oprah or the Penguin who just want to finish, who just relish in the challenge of 26.2, have turned the marathon from “a competition” to “a self-improvement exercise”.

Blah, blah, blah, you sour old fart.

Some quips and quotes:

It makes me ask: Has this country’s marathoning spirit been trampled by hordes of joggers whose only goal is to stagger across the finish line?

and

If Frank Shorter inspired the first running boom, Oprah inspired the second, by running the Marine Corps Marathon. And it was a much bigger boom. This was not a spindly 24-year-old Yalie gliding through Old World Munich. This was a middle-aged woman hauling her flab around the District of Columbia. If Oprah could run a marathon, shame on anyone who couldn’t.

When Oprah expanded the sport, she also lowered the bar for excellence. For the previous generation of marathoners, the goal had been qualifying for Boston. Now, it was beating Oprah. Her time of four hours and 29 minutes — the Oprah Line — became the new benchmark for a respectable race. (That was P. Diddy’s goal when he ran New York.)

And so on. I don’t have the stomach to go back to it again for more, but you get the drift.

If you want to read a better dissection of this bitter b.s., go to Kenny’s blog or here, here or here.

But let me just thank McClelland for giving everyone who’s trying to get fitter or faster a good excuse to get back on the couch this Sunday morning. Jerk.

Hope that cotton T rubs you the wrong way — big time.

Getting out there for the challenge is worth it, whether you’re a three- or six-hour marathoner.

ps: The good news … This morning’s long run is going to be a fast one. I’m all worked up now.

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5 responses

4 11 2007
Lisa

I especially loved how he dissed Team in Training. The bitter man with bad knees seems to be against raising money for charity too. He must really hate the Nike Women’s Marathon – raising $18.5 million for charity and with all those fun perks along the way.
Besides, it’s not like I’m getting in Paula Radcliffe’s way when she goes for a world record. And when was the last time you started out in front of Haile Gebrselassie?!!

4 11 2007
Victor Velez

I agree with you 100 %. Finishing a marathon is an accomplishment and deserves praise. I don’t have any idea what is wrong with the jackass who wrote that worthless tripe.

5 11 2007
lauram

This guy is just an elitist a*hole who is upset that he no longer has bragging rights about running the marathon since every Tom, Dick and Oprah has done it now.

5 11 2007
lauram

He’s just an elitist a*hole who doesn’t want to share the glory of running with anyone. He wants to live in a little elitist world where there is a sense of hushed awe around anyone who’s been so brave and courageous as to run a marathon. Now that we 5 mph runners can do/have done it, poor McClelland feels diminshed. How will he ever receive the awe that he so truly deserves when even Oprah can do it? Maybe McClelland should take up 100 mile runs. And shut the f(%* up in the meantime.

5 11 2007
Jeremy

The guy sounds like every indie kid who has ever bemoaned their favourite band getting big. “I knew them when they were cool, but now they’ve sold out.” I guess some people never grow up.

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