Sunday, October 27, 2013

"Isn't worth the effort."

As a former president of D C Road Runners Club, I will speak to the hurtful and arrogant comments made by the club's current president in a Washington Post article published Friday, which article extolled runners in DC. Current DCRRC president Brian Danza explained that his club "firmly promote[s] the sport of running in a competitive manner."  

The article cited Mr. Danza as saying, "Running a marathon just for the sake of completing one isn't worth the effort."  Recreational runners, such as presumably the vast majority of participants in today's People's Marathon, "do it to check a box," according to Mr. Danza.

The club under the care of the president one before me and then myself believed in inclusion and participation, not elitism and disdain for the common runner.  We provided training programs for persons wishing to engage in or initiate a more fit lifestyle, for people who aspired to run a 5K or a 10K or a marathon, and actively encouraged achieving such a lofty goal.  

The club president mid-last decade and myself did not denigrate the efforts expended by such ordinary athletes for the uncommon accomplishment of running a marathon, even in perhaps 4 or 5 hours or more, rather, we tried to encourage and facilitate such activities by creating and running training programs tailored to certain races such as the Capital Hill Classic 10K, the ATM, and the National Marathon and HM.  (Recognition goes to Kristin Blanchet for being the genesis of such programs becoming a regular part of the club.)  

I consider it asinine that "competitive" runners such as Mr. Danza might say "recreational" runners are merely wasting their time by their participation.  (Mr. Danza related to the reporter that anything less than "competitive" running is merely "the way to one-up each other-I'm thinner than you, I'm better than you, I checked this box.")

I hail all those runners who did their best this morning at the MCM, all 30,000 athletes, and whatever time they achieved, I urge them all to exult in having accomplished a hard feat that 99% of all people have never performed.   I salute them all for undertaking the task and sticking with it and finishing it, competitive and recreational runners alike!


A Plain Observer said...

what a way to lose members. I would not be part of a club that only houses competitive runners and not the rest of us who run because we love it.

I don't know if you are aware, but your "prove you're not a robot" that we must complete before leaving a message is very difficult. I can't hardly make out the words. I have to type two and three times before it's accepted

peter said...

Thanks for your comment, Miriam. I am not a club member anymore. Knowing Mr. Danza as I do, I find his comments shocking but not surprising.

A much better choice for club membership in the DC area is MCRRC, which is much more respectful of its membership base than DCRRC and is also twice as big with many more training programs. Unfortunately it is based in Maryland and I live in Virginia.

I have turned off word moderation (I hope successfully).

Don said...

Hi Peter,

I couldn't agree with you more. I've been a competitive runner, racing for an age-group award.

Now I have cancer and I've slowed down, but I don't enjoy running any less. I just finished my 76th marathon, in NYC, in a time of 5:48, and make no apologies to anyone.

The beauty of the sport of running is its inclusiveness - the fastest and the slowest can join the same race.

I wouldn't be a member of that outfit either.


Dori said...

What a jackass that Danza is! Who is he to question someone's motive for participating in a race? I can stand that kind of elitist thinking. Thanks for sticking up for us "recreational" runners. :-)