This Sunday, I will be running (loose term) the Destination Races Napa to Sonoma (N2S) Half Marathon for the second consecutive year. This is a phenomenal race; so much so that it sells out in less than an hour. After all, who wouldn’t want to run a race whose course takes the participants through wine country and ends in a wine and music festival? I feel fortunate to have gotten a spot again this year. Stay tuned for what I’m sure will be a great review. You can read my recap of the 2016 race here.
When I signed up for this race last year, I was relatively new to running, and very new to the online running community. About a week before the 2016 race, I went online and checked out the N2S Facebook page so I could get a better feel for the race. While scrolling through the comments and questions, I came across this comment by one of the race participants:
My first instinct was to launch an attack. I took the comment personally (not that it was directed toward me by any means), because I am more of a walker/runner than a runner. I wanted to rebut with some comment like, “well, I, too, actually want to run in the race, but I can’t because of XYZ” (and I seriously thought about making up some devastating disease, claiming the loss of my lower limbs in the Civil War, having recently lost my seeing-eye dog…you name it). But then I thought better of it and didn’t comment at all. After all, we all know what can happen when we decide to argue with an online troll. So I kept silent.
And that made me angry. I felt like the victim of cyberbullying for the first time in my life. Didn’t I have the right to walk this race if necessary? Maybe I wanted to walk this beautiful course and take in the views along the way. After all, I paid the same entry fee as everyone else. And besides, the course gives a generous time limit of 3:30, which averages out to a 16-minute mile; much slower than my own walking pace. So for those of us who may choose, or better yet, may need to walk the course, we would have to do so single file, just so Mr. Speedy Gonzales can breeze his way past us and to his first place finish.
When race day came, I did my best; running when I could, and walking when I had to. I finished with a time of 2:37:51. Barely considering myself a ‘real’ runner at that point, I was quite proud of myself. In fact, the photo on the homepage of my blog is me coming in at the finish of that race. I felt fantastic. But I never forgot this guy’s comment. Like I said, I took it personally. And so should a lot of people. Because a good number of race participants walked the race in its entirety. And guess what? We all got the same finisher’s medal, and we all could proudly say we finished a half marathon.
A few days after the race, I went back to the Destination Races FB page and found the guy’s comment, published under his real name. I then went to the race results, and checked his time: 2:29:46. That’s right…just eight minutes, five seconds faster than my time. Once again, I refrained from getting back on and launching my attack. But seriously, Dude? You really need to get over yourself.
I’m not sure how I will do in Sunday’s race. I’m debating walking the entire race (for a pretty good reason, BTW), but we will see. I wonder if Mr. Speedy Gonzales will be participating again this year. If he is, I have l message for him: If I do decide to run it, and you see me coming, move the hell over. Because some of us actually want to run this race.
Now CTFD, people. I get it. There are serious runners, and there are not-so-serious runners (or walkers) participating in these races. There is race course etiquette, and I hope runners and walkers at all levels will respect that. But it’s the nature of the beast. So just get out there, have some fun, and try not to step on each other’s