Have you read this article yet? (I forgot how I came across it) Though it focus on the NY Marathon, the content applies to all of us who have run a marathon (or are currently training or planning on running one…).
I’m far from having a good finishing time at a marathon, and am one of the “stragglers” they mention. Yet, though I consider myself athletic, I can even understand why they don’t consider me an athlete. But calling me a straggler it’s of a long way from not considering me an athlete, isn’t it?
I learned how to swim when I was 2 years old, and used to consistently swim until I moved to the US. I played tennis (4 times a week — yep, I hated my parents for it) for 7 years, then I dropped it for another sport I was already playing, volleyball. I played volleyball a big part of my life, except for the years I lived in NYC (and took a break around May or June of this year, when I quit my league because I just didn’t have any more time with all this running). A couple of years ago, I was playing volleyball 5 to 6 times a week, for hours at a time. I’ve been biking my whole life. I’ve been consistently running for the last two years.
Yet, am I just not an athlete because I’m not olympic material in any of these sports? I’m not a professional athlete for that reason, sure. But not an athlete at all?
My cousin, who’s only a few months older than me, just “retired” from her career and she’s now a tennis coach. Her whole life she was a tennis player, then for a decade later, a professional tennis player. What differentiates her from the other regular tennis players? Well, she had sponsorships and earned her money by traveling the world and playing tennis, and winning matches. She’s been to the US Open a couple of times, she was on the Brazilian Olympic team. Her 9 to 5 job (or whatever hours she kept) were spent working out and training. Her life revolved around tennis.
Now, she’s a college student (since college was not on her radar during those years), and a tennis coach. She’s also big into “beach tennis” and getting it marketed around Brazil. Is she no longer an athlete because she’s not competing against the world’s best? Just because now, instead of training for 8 hours (or more) a day, she does it only for a few hours a week?
What are YOUR thoughts on that article? Do you feel like you’re participating on a parade when you’re running your marathon? And that since we didn’t win the marathon, we’re all losers?
Heck, I consider myself an athlete. I’m not a good athlete, which is why there’s no chance of me winning anything (except local volleyball leagues — I have a collection of t-shirts for that), but an athlete nonetheless.