I'm at work and we were talking about the Broad Street run in Philadelphia that happened this past weekend. For those who aren't familiar with this race, it is a 10 mile run in downtown Philadelphia. We were talking about how long it took them to finish and then I asked how many people ran it...
"40,000, but 20,000 shouldn't even be there"
What did you say?
What do you mean 20,000 shouldn't be there?
Basically...they meant that 20,000 of the participants shouldn't have run the race because they weren't good enough and had no business even trying because they got in the way of other runners. That these people who can't run the race should start out with easier smaller races.
Excuse me? At this point I went off. I could NOT believe that someone would say that. I personally took offense to this statement because if I decided to attend this race, I would be the 20,000 he was referring to. And that made me sad. It hurt my feelings.
What is wrong with the idea of someone starting from the bottom and working towards their goals? Who cares if the person can barely run a 5k let alone 10 miles. WHO CARES! At least they are motivated enough to try. At least they put on their sneakers and decided that they were going to work towards their goal. That is more than I can say about some people! And who knows...maybe they are training with shorter races...how would you even know? Maybe the person who finished dead last in the race has just lost 300lbs and for the first time ever just walked/ran 10 miles. Knowing that, would you tell them that they didn't belong there? I would dare you to say that...and I would bet $100 that you would leave with a black eye.
I absolutely would do a 10 mile race without being able to run the whole thing in under 1 hour and 30 mins. I would do it and I would be proud to finish it in 5 hours! Why? Because it would probably be something that I couldn't have done at the beginning of my journey.
I remember when I ran my first 5k last year. Was I able to run the whole thing? NO! Was I determined to try my best? YES! The feeling of happiness and accomplishment I had after the race was something I have never felt. If someone were to say to me that because I didn't run the whole thing, I shouldn't have been there...it would have crushed me. It shouldn't matter how long you take to accomplish your goals as long as you work hard and eventually get there.
Moral of the story: Don't make assumptions, everyone has a story and you don't know it.