Running Marathons is already entrenched in our main stream culture. There are literally hundreds of races to choose from and each year there more new races to fill the growing, insatiable demand. And, the registration period, for many well known races, fill up in days even hours. This past week, marathons landed in uncharted territory, the middle of the 2012 Presidential election.
I will not retell the details you already know about the Republican VP nominee Paul Ryan’s disclosure of running a really speedy marathon that he only trained for in 3 weeks….
If by chance you don’t know the story, a quick Google (sorry Bing) displays how far the story bleed across the ‘Internets’:
As a Marathon runner, this issue doesn’t sit well for two reasons; I think he’d remember his time and the huge ‘gap’ between a 2:50 ‘something’ finish time and his real time.
My marathon finishing times hold significant value to me and I can recall them. Training for and running a marathon, even one, is a significant effort, time suck and a physical and mental achievement. First, one usually trains 12-18 weeks or longer. Ryan, being only 20 at the time and fit said he only needed three weeks to train (I’ll let others ‘fact check’ that one). Running a marathon pushes your body where it doesn’t want to go, which often leads to pain. Especially, for your first marathon race, it may lead to A LOT OF PAIN. The type of pain which means you walk funny for days and nearly scream when trying to walk down stairs. Because he only ran one and only trained for three weeks, I expect at the finish line and for several days, Paul Ryan hurt. Really, really hurt. The type of hurt that he would remember, even after 20 years.
Next, if you want to fib, twist the truth or just blatantly lie about your finish time, let’s be realistic about how much you shave off your time. It was quickly discovered that Ryan ran a 4:01, which is a respectable finishing time. But, he said he ran 2:50 ‘something’. This gap between his truth and fiction is so huge that I believe that is the true heart of this heated discussion. Running a sub 3 hour marathon takes significant training and talent. That ‘gap’ fueled many of the comments online, like this thread on Runner’s World Marathon forum (258 comments)
No one knows what percentage of marathon runners’ vote Paul Ryan held before this controversy but I think the pain this ‘fib’ caused to his campaign will make him walk funny for a few more days.