May 10, 2014
It’s not often that I blog twice in one day, especially not on a Saturday when most blogs go unread anyway, in fact it may well be because it is a Saturday that the indiscretion I want to discuss has gone largely unnoticed. But I have to vent and bring it to your attention.
So I have been a runner for 10 years. I am not fast. I am not athletically built. But I do run. I run at parkrun, I run with a running club, I run by myself sometimes, oh and did I mention I run marathons too? I also write this blog to try to motivate overweight and inactive women to take up and improve in the sport of running. But believe me trying to encourage new runners into the sport is a difficult job, one which requires a collective effort…I can not do it alone. And in all fairness I do not. there are plenty of agencies out there working towards a shared goal. UK Athletics, Run England, Department of Health, Local Authorities to name a few. But with inactivity levels at an all time high you would think those of us who enjoy the sport would pull together and do all we can to support new comers.
But NO, this is not the case.
Now I know full well that joggers are frowned upon by a large section of the running population, we ruin your marathons, we get in your way, we don’t know the rules of the road or the track…basically we are just not as good as you. But do you know what? You proper/real runners do not have the monopoly on the sport. Running is a god given gift that is there for everyone to enjoy and even without a national governing body, mainstream TV coverage and multimillion pound sports brands backing it people would still run. Simply put, we do not need your permission.
So what is this rant all about?
Today Jason Henderson, Editor of Athletics Weekly had this to say on Twitter
Athletics Weekly is the world’s only devoted weekly track and field magazine designed to keep you (The REAL RUNNER) informed about all the best news, reports and results from Britain and around the world. and for someone who has covered five Olympics for the magazine and interviewed everyone from Bannister to Bolt he should know better.
I get that he is an expert on Athletics which is a million miles away from the running that happens up and down the country by most of us, but lets not forget that proper Athletics is sponsored by us the tax payer and of course by commercial sponsors many of whom have social objectives around encouraging people to be more active through their brands.
So Mr Henderson what have you got to say for yourself? Do you think your comment is a responsible comment to make in the context of opening up the sport?
You may be a club runner with a 1:54 PB for 800m in the mid-1990s but that does not give you the right to slag of the millions of recreational runners around the globe. Not everyone runs for PBs or to become athletics superstars, many of us run for health and happiness and for the social aspects that the running community offer.
So I will leave you with this final question. If I am not a real runner what in your expert opinion am I?
Feel free to tell Mr Henderson what you think of his comment his twit account is @Jason_AW