Tuesday, September 24, 2013

An open letter to the Wall Street Journal

Dear editor,

As a slower marathoner, I took offense to Kevin Helliker's article Sept. 19, "The Slowest Generation".

Not everyone gets a medal. Actually, very few people do.

The people who stop training because it's too hard, or too much work? They don't get a medal. The people who train dumb and wind up injured or burned out? They don't get a medal. The people who don't train and drop out midrace? They don't get a medal.

The people who don't even try? They definitely don't get a medal. 

What's left, the people who train hard but smart, who get out of bed at an ungodly early hour whether it's 100 degrees, raining or snowing to run 3.1, 6.2, 13.1 or 26.2 miles, they deserve medals regardless of if it takes them 3 hours or 6.

Saying the decline in elite runners has something to do with the boom of nonelites is false logic, and faulting a generation of people who are racing to get fit and have fun is downright insulting. We run because we love it. We race for the camaraderie, the support, to raise money for our favorite causes, and -- yes -- for the competitive atmosphere.

I'll never be fast. For me, with speed comes risk. I come from Generation Squeezed. I train carefully, because I can't afford to end up in the chiropractor's office. 

Us "kids" (I'm almost 30), we're generally polite. We let the elites start at the front. We cheer you on and give high fives as you lap us or pass us on the out and back. We make way for you at the finish. You can have your trophy. But we deserve our medals. For as much determination it took you to get your PR, it took us an equal amount of determination to get to the start line.


Jessica Alaimo

(I'll trim this down and submit it for real.)

1 comment:

  1. Excellent reply! You have to get off the couch, get out there, line up and finish to get a well deserved medal. I settle for being competitive in my M 55-59 age group.