Do You 'Participate' or Run In a Race?

Yesterday at lunch my friends Louise and Jeanette and I were discussing race cut-offs and what some race officials do once a deadline has passed, particularly for really labor- and resource-intensive events like big-city marathons and Ironmans.

Then this morning I saw this piece in the New York Times, which, as it does around this time every year, features numerous articles on running and marathons.

Plodders Have a Place, But Is It In a Marathon?

Here's an excerpt on the different attitudes:

Purists believe that running a marathon should be just that — running the entire course at a relatively fast clip. They point out that a six-hour marathoner is simply participating in the event, not racing in it. Slow runners have disrespected the distance, they say, and have ruined the marathon’s mystique.

Slower marathoners believe that covering the 26.2 miles is the crux of the accomplishment, no matter the pace. They say that marathons inspire people to get off their couches, if only to cross off an item on the Things to Do Before I Die list. And besides, slow runners are what drive the marathon business, they say.

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