It’s a question that was asked in this last issue of Runner’s Magazine in the article,”Were All Marathoners Self-Absorbed?”. This set of articles investigates how poorly the logistics of the NYC Marathon was handled by the New York Road Runners (NYRR) and how even the city seemed to have abandoned Staten Island…. but many runners did not.
Long story short: The Marathon was scheduled, the lottery was held to select runners. The runners took off of work, school, ect. and made plans to travel to NYC to run in the event. Then Hurricane Sandy came to take a short holiday on the east coast. The NYRR said that the race would not be canceled. Mayor Bloomberg thought that the race should go on. However, the governor of New York had a difference of opinion. So, the race was canceled. As a result, many of the country’s top runners came together to launch a mass volunteer effort to help New Yorkers drag out destroyed furniture from their homes and to also distribute personal hygiene products and other disaster relief supplies. However, some runners decided to run it anyways.
Now… I can’t speak for all runners. When I first started running track in high school, I was not the most in shape runner on the team to say the least. However, as long as I was willing to push myself, the rest of the team continued to be very encouraging. (Perhaps, this was because I was the only one who volunteered to run the 3200m and I KNOW no one else wanted to run it…. Who knows? Lol.) I had been playing high school varsity singles tennis for years, and I would have to say that I enjoyed being with the runners wayyyy more than I enjoyed being around the tennis group. The tennis players were by and large, prissy, cliquey and annoying.
Even as an adult, recreational runner, I find that runners in general are probably some of the most motivated, encouraging people I have ever met. Yeah, I’m running and eating healthier. However, I do not in pale in comparison to where they are and where I am. Don’t get me wrong; I’m not “fat” or “obese”… but I probably wont be running around the neighborhood in only a sports bra anytime soon. But, it’s ok. They help to keep me in the right direction. That’s all that matters.
Additionally, many runners not only run, they also fundraise for causes they really believe in. It is a lot of work. Fundraising is time consuming and not that many people have the patience for it. For instance, I’m fundraising for Operation Home Front. My old Drill Sergeant (who, by the way, has been running marathons since 07) is fundraising for widows of deceased veterans. I’m also not anywhere near my fundraising goal… But it’s ok. I have been researching some interesting tactics in non profit fundraising and I’m very motivated. 🙂
And as far as that accusation of runners being upper-middle class snobs…. Couldn’t be farther from the truth. I don’t make a whole lot of money. So, eventually that part of my budget that was allocated exclusively for beer and smokes, transformed into my running budget. I actually started saving my change from riding on SEPTA trains and one would be shocked about how fast it adds up. At this rate, I might be able to have a new pair of kicks in a few months.
But I think that’s the thing about American culture that is so much more different than in the rest of the world. That is, we don’t like to save up for anything, we NEED that instant gratification, and we also seem to not enjoy the success of others. Again, I can’t speak for everyone. But, I don’t think that this point is completely void of truth.