You’re in for a real treat today. Angry Runner found herself (rightfully) horrified by some online commentary and she felt compelled to write up a proper tirade about it. Since she shut down her own blog, I offered her this venue. I could say some bullshit disclaimer about how her remarks do not necessarily reflect the opinions and viewpoints of this blog, but nah. I agree 100% with every word. You’ll see.
Thirty years ago, I ran my first race. I was wearing middle-aged gym teacher shorts and Velcro shoes. It started with a whistle on a miserably hot stretch of pavement in the middle of a military base. When I finished, a volunteer handed me an index card where I wrote my name and time. (Though in fairness, pretty sure my mom helped me with this part because I was like 6.)
Over the next 10 years or so, I ran a lot of races like this. Low key. Low budget. McDonald’s cups of orange Gatorade that would burn your throat. No (or cheap) awards. Just you and someone’s actual stop watch.
Not surprisingly, things started evolving in the early 2000s. Automatic timing and breathable fabrics became requirements. Once hard to find, running shorts for women began popping up all over the place. And suddenly all those assholes who mocked me for running in high school were now posting pictures on Facebook of “OMG MY FIRST 5K.” Soon “MY FIRST 5K” became “MY FIRST MARATHON!” And then…marathons started selling out, despite their suddenly much higher price.
Wonder why I’m telling you this? It’s not because I wore an onion on my belt (which was the style at the time). It’s because what was once a simple, cheap, and low key sport is now…A THING. Color runs. Foam runs. Bubble runs. All sorts of bullshit. Running and marketing have become entwined.
Shit evolves. I get that. Remember, I once refused to use a smart phone. (Oops.)
But the sad reality of road racing is that is has become something really only enjoyed by the privileged.
So, that brings me to the Black Lives Matter scheduled Twin Cities Marathon protest. If you don’t know about it, you can read about it right here.
Now, if I were running Twin Cities I’d certainly be wondering if I’d be able to finish. But quite frankly, I’d be more frightened by the behavior of some of those I see commenting on this planned protest.
So without further ado, let me tell you how NOT to react when BLM plans to protest your goal marathon.
- Don’t threaten violence.
So you’ve spent a lot of money. Maybe you’re going for a PR. Maybe you’re trying to hit your 50th state. I’d be worried too. However, stating that you’re planning to assault someone really just validates why BLM is doing this to begin with: you’re saying that finishing a race matters more than someone’s life. I’m not speaking broadly. These people are talking about carrying guns and breaking necks. This is pretty blatant.
- Don’t say racist shit.
You’re angry. And you’ll defend yourself by saying, “BUT I’M ANGRY.” But here is the thing: if your first reaction is to say something racist, you’re racist. In the case above this person FIRST breaks rule #1, THEN makes a racist comment.
But it gets worse, and there’s some homophobia thrown in there too.
Interesting how homophobia seems like a non sequitur here. And I must say that I’m shocked that angry white man rage results in both casual racism and homophobia. SHOCKED!
- Don’t make this about runners.
According to this fellow, Black Lives Matter could get their message across more effectively by cheering for the runners.
When I saw that I stared at my computer screen for a good minute or so because this person is actually suggesting that people would support the message of Black Lives Matter if demonstrators just stood there doing…what the majority of people will be out there doing.
Yeah, okay. If you don’t get why this is offensive, read this and get back to me.
- Don’t say “runners’ lives matter!”
Or really, any variation of “all lives matter.” But somehow “runners lives” strikes me as an even stupider false equivalency. While “all lives matter” is thrown out as a fake cry for unity, “runners lives matter” is thrown out as a reason to assert privilege.
Because like it or not, you are privileged to run a marathon. You’re privileged to pay for it. You’re privileged to have the time to train for it. You’re probably privileged to be able to train in a neighborhood where people don’t assume you are running from the cops. You may not see it that way. But the thing is, this isn’t back in the old days where people would start with a whistle and write their names on an index card and be happy with shitty Gatorade. Marathons are major events. Expensive events. Expensive events that some of you are privileged enough to do every weekend. And hell, you have entire clubs dedicated to trying to run a goddamn marathon in all 50 states…that’s pretty much the epitome of privilege.
Before you ask “why would BLM target us runners???”…you need to think about that.
And don’t tell me that “BUT PEOPLE OF ALL RACES RUN MARATHONS!” Because that’s not the point.
The point is to draw attention to a serious issue by peacefully interrupting a gathering of people who are in some way privileged. And while I hope everyone running can still find a way to finish, I can’t help but read over the reactions to Black Lives Matter and understand exactly why they’re targeting the Twin Cities Marathon.
Currently based in the Pacific Northwest, you can hire Angry Runner for parties, funerals, and bar mitzvahs.