Thursday, August 19, 2010

"Slow and Steady Loses the Race"

"U.S. runners are pokier than they were in 1979."

Whinging was a label I originally intended for my own whinging.

But this one deserves the label:
"The demise of the American runner was hastened by the success of the first running boom in the 1970s and the embrace of running as a "pastime" rather than a sport. As more people were encouraged to "just do it," racing (and training) were dumbed down for the masses. Runners were told they could do a perfectly respectable marathon on 30 miles a week, 5k road races popped up all around the country (replacing the more difficult 10k), and running culture celebrated (and elevated) the participant over the winner. Today, it is not unusual for most runners to neither know, nor care, who won the race in which they were running."
Sorry, but the rise of running as a popular sport doesn't explain why the elites can't compete.  We have lots of other popular sports where the elites are competitive at a world level.  Take golf, or skiing.

Over at Barefoot Ted's Minimalist Running message group we've had tons of discussions on this topic.  There are plenty of good explanations for this phenomenon.  Unfortunately none are mentioned in this editorial.