I hope all of the Americans and Canadians out there had a lovely holiday weekend. Here, the holiday itself was pretty wet and rainy, though a few of us got in a good swim and bike (and run for people who are not me). Then I spent the rest of the day dealing with the mounds of junk that have accumulated in my house. My house does not have great storage space, and on some level, that’s a good thing, but on some level, it means that stuff gets shoved into whatever nook and cranny I can find. Where I then promptly forget about it. Time to pull everything out of the closets. You know, in all of my free time.
I spent some time catching up on blog reading and Twitter following and noticed a number of people still talking about race cheaters. Apparently, now that we’re in the season of summer 5Ks, we’re in the season of cheating. And I don’t mean people out doing a fun run and deciding “Yeah, no, I don’t want to do this,” and bailing mid-race. Nor do I mean people who get injured and cut the course. Heck, in general, I don’t mean all course cutters. I mean the people who cut the course and then brag about how they finished the race. Stuff happens and sometimes you can’t do the full distance, but you know what? Then you didn’t finish. End of story. There’s no shame in that, but you have to be honest. I don’t care if you cut a mile off the race or a tenth of a mile. If you didn’t complete the distance set out by the race organizers, you didn’t complete the race.
Now, I’m not going to get into whether you should take a finisher’s medal if you don’t finish a race. At the end of the day, that’s your choice. I know people who take them and hang them somewhere to motivate them to train for their next race. I do fully believe that you shouldn’t be wearing said medal if you didn’t finish the race. And you certainly shouldn’t be telling people you finished.
I also don’t get why people cheat at races. I mean, if you’re cheating to win, that makes sense (it’s wrong, but I comprehend the terrible reasoning). I also get cheating to qualify for Boston (also wrong, obviously). But why are people cheating in their small local 5K races? Do they just want to be able to brag that they ran a 5K? (I’m not saying there’s not pride in running a 5K. If you run a 5K, feel free to shout it from the rooftops, because you are awesome.)
I think every distance runner has joked about cutting a course, but it’s clearly a joke
At the end of the day, if you’re cheating at a race, you’re really only cheating yourself. There’s no pride in that. There’s also no pride in having such low self worth that you think you have to make up a success to feel good about yourself. Just train and run the full distance. It’s worth it.