Overheard In Central Park

Date: March 11, 2013 at 6:48 am- by Ali- Comment(s): 52

The scene: A bustling Central Park on Saturday morning. The sun is shining and temperatures are hovering in the 40s. Runners are flooding the paths (and taking over the bike lanes — come on runners, wise up and move in or don’t complain about the riders!) and cyclists are speeding by.

As I cruise (crawl) around the southeast corner of the park and begin to head north, I overhear — even over the blasting volume coming from my old-school Sony headphones — two very excitable women on the run having what seems to be a heated conversation.

“Runners are so snotty!” the runner woman on the outside says.

Inside woman does not respond.

Ali slows her power crawl to a normal crawl, taps down the volume of the Beyoncé and decides to do a bit of investigative eavesdropping.

“Everyone’s like, ‘A marathon is only a marathon if it’s 26 miles!’ Since when? A marathon is a marathon, whether it’s a 5K or a loop of Central Park! People think it’s about the distance, not the work you put into it.”

Last I checked, the word marathon is actually DEFINED as being 26.2 miles. But I mean...definitions are open for interpretation, right?

Last I checked, the word marathon is actually DEFINED as being 26.2 miles. But I mean…definitions are open for interpretation, right?

Ali smiles and picks it back up to a power crawl.

She’s got a marathon to finish up, after all.

Happy Monday! I hope you all had awesome marathons this weekend!

Posted in Central Park, Running and tagged , -

52 Responses to "Overheard In Central Park"

BAHAHA! This just made my evening.

Now…I have to walk to the MRT (subway) in a few minutes. If I walk really fast, and work hard, do you think that could count as my marathon for today? 😉

Yup. Just remember: Don’t go out too fast, and stop along the way to fuel. Good luck! You’ve got this!

I’m not sure it was a PR, but by-gosh, I did it!!

I could really use a water stop next time, though. And some meter markers. Hmm….

I hope they find out the truth, and very soon. And then feel dumb.


oh god, THIS. Those are the same people that start in the incorrect corral and then get mad when people basically run them over. RAGE.

Lol! Well, all this time I thought I was working my up to a marathon when in fact I’ve already completed tons of marathons! 😉

I’m going to refer to everything I do from now on as a marathon, that way people know I’m working waaayyy harder than they are. 🙂

I like the sentiment (it’s not about the distance but the work you put into it), but let’s not get all fast and loose with definitions. The English language is already getting relaxed enough in everyday conversations.

But I do smile when I’m talking about races of other distances, and a friend asks “how long is that marathon?” and I’m like “oh, 10 miles.” Makes me sound more badass that way …

Agreed – let’s encourage smart accurate vocabulary, and support for runners of all distances.

Haha! Favorite non-runner question: wait so how long was your marathon?

…It’s not my marathon. It’s every marathon.

As silly as it is though, the idea that “It’s the work you put into it” is definitely worth something, and it’s a concept I’ve thought about through recent injuries just 5 weeks out from Boston. Would I have put less effort into my training knowing that the last month was going to be all messed up and probably negate a lot of the fitness I’ve gained? Absolutely not! We don’t train for the time we will earn in the race, we train because we love training. I could never run another race in my life and I’ll still take 20 miles with 10×1-mile pickups at 6:30 pace at 5:30AM on a Saturday morning over sleeping in until noon.

Haha.. thanks for sharing! people are nuts

HA! I ran an awesome 7-mile marathon on Saturday. It was my longest marathon of 2013 so far!

Hahaha, I love how some people just don’t grasp the concept of a marathon. Although I guess if it gets her out there running she can believe her 5K is a marathon

This is a pet peeve of mine. So much that when I was teaching, I worked it into our math lessons. I taught decimals and fractions, so I’d give extra credit for being able to write the distance of a marathon and half marathon in numbers and words.

My small contribution to running society. 😉

My grandma calls everything a marathon. “How long is this marathon?” is the question she asks before every race. It doesn’t bother me at all.

I think sometimes we get so into our own world that we get annoyed when other people don’t understand the basics about whatever it is we’re “into.” But there are tons of sports I know nothing about (What is the individual medley? What the heck does “icing” mean?) and tons of other things I know nothing about (umm my boyfriend is a doctor and I haven’t taken science since high school). I appreciate it when people who live in those worlds take the time to explain things to me, so I try to do the same. Just my .02.

I wasn’t annoyed by her thinking a marathon is whatever distance you want — I was sad that she finds runners “snotty” for using the definition of marathon correctly! I’m all about the effort and the hard work.

Oh no, I didn’t think you were annoyed–sorry for not making that clear! I thought it was a cute story.

I was mostly having a rambling conversation with myself, based on the post and some of the other comments.

OMG. So funny. I will say that a runner is a runner is a runner if you run. I don’t buy the whole jogging vs running thing. But a marathon IS 26.2. I run half marathons and 5k’s and 10k’s. I don’t call myself a marathoner.

The Kidless Kronicles

Hahahaha! I ran a six-mile marathon yesterday! AWESOME. I think this goes along with non-runners who ask how my marathon was when I actually ran a 5k.

That is awesome. I had a sweet 6 mile marathon run on the treadmill this weekend.

Normally something like this would annoy me but for some reason I just found it pretty funny. Maybe it was your storytelling of it!

Hahaha my boyfriends family asked me “How long is that marathon?’ while I was training for Dublin. Ummm, the same as EVERY marathon?

I really enjoyed my Homeland marathon this weekend!!!

I did a marathon his weekend. A marathon of project runway!

Well, then I ran four marathons last week. Go me! Fun times.

My mom consistently calls every race I do a marathon regardless of distance. My entire extended family (At least those NOT friends with me on facebook.) thinks I run marathons every other weekend or so. I just smile and correct them when I can. Of course my mom also has zero ability to read a map (we live in central Iowa, she once drove us to Minnesota trying to get to Missouri) and no sense of distance (Yes, I hit the Iowa border mom, but it is still a 4 hour drive to your house. Do not warm up dinner yet!) so those things could play into it.

Ha! So funny! I guess she believes in the ‘life is a marathon, not a sprint’ mantra…

I would definitely have been way more annoyed about the runners are snotty comment….Especially because they correctly defined the definition of a marathon.

This is hilarious.

I remember when I was in high school and I told my dad I ran a 10k. He thought I was talking about ten thousand dollars.

These comments are so timely. This morning as I’m standing next to the water cooler (naturally), an acquaintance/colleague walks by and says, “hey, Marathon Woman.”
I was confused since I haven’t run a marathon (yet), but remembered I tweeted about an 8k I ran this weekend. Maybe the assumption is – you run, so you’re probably running marathons? I’ll take it! 🙂

I just got a good laugh. People ask me all the time…”how long is THIS marathon/half marathon” I am always slightly confused.

Terri R. says: March 11, 2013 at 3:21 pm

LOL! I guess I have run TONS of marathons then! I have yet to do the 26 mile kind! 😉

Ha! So I guess everyone’s a marathoner? Hope your run went well!

Ahahaha! That is awesome. I can’t tell you how many times people have asked how long the marathon I ran was, or mentioned that so-and-so is running a marathon when they really mean a 5K. Too funny.

Hahaha… when I ran my first 5k, my friend kept telling everyone I was running a marathon. I had to say “No! No no no no no no no no no no no. Nowhere NEAR that yet!” A lot of non-runners think “marathon” means “foot race.” 😛

Obviously it is a very confusing term. I mean the distance of the race is not CLEARLY stated in the name so of course it can’t POSSIBLY mean something specific. A 5k is always a 5k, and a 10 miler always a 10 miler, maybe we should just start calling the marathon the 26.2 mile race and everyone would start to understand!

I need to get some cheap business cards printed up with the definition of a marathon and a link to the wikipedia page!

Hahahhah. I love listening to people talk while I’m running. On the way home from my long run yesterday, a group of pedestrians was overheard saying, “Carbs are SO bad for you.” “I know, NEVER buy bread.”

Carbs are wonderful, you silly UES pedestrians.

Well, I put a lot of effort into college, so I’m gonna call myself a doctor! It’s all about the effort, right?

13.1 miles training for a marathon.

LOL! Best laughs of the day!

I though a marathon was 26.2 miles, but then again I’m not a runner, so what do I know. I did however jog/crawl/fast walk a mile this weekend. My first in years and years so huge pat on the back for me, but calling it a marathon feels just wrong.

bwhahahaa that’s like the usual “so…how long was your last marathon?” LOL

I once met a mad who did cross country in college in the 90’s, and he told me, “We ran marathons every day for training.” When I asked how long they were training to run, he said, “Between 3.1 and 6.2 miles.” 🙂 *polite smile*

A marathon can be defined as any contest, event, or the like, of great, or greater than normal, length or duration or requiring exceptional endurance.

The woman was obviously using the word “marathon” as a test of endurance. For those who are new to running and fitness in general, doing 1 mile, a 5k, or even a walk around the block can be a sincere test of endurance, both emotional and physical. At least this woman was crediting the efforts of those who try, rather than completely dismissing them.

Maybe I’m wrong, but I think this post and the subsequent comments just proves this womans point; runners can be snotty.

Running any distance is a test of endurance. That’s absolutely true. However I don’t believe it is technically true that a 5K is a marathon, when a marathon in running terms is defined as being a 26.2 mile race, and a 5K is defined as a 3.1 mile race. I don’t think that believing only a 26.2 mile race is technically a marathon makes me snotty. I think it makes me accurate. It also doesn’t mean I don’t support runners of all paces, distances and abilities. I sure do. (And remember, the sentiments expressed in the comments on my blog are those of the people writing them — doesn’t mean I agree with all of them or feel the same way.)

This is satire, right? If so, brilliant.

When training for an actual marathon, my LEAST favorite question (and one of the most common) that I get is “How long is it?” With trying to put on a non-annoyed smile, I patiently explain that a marathon is a measure of distance of 26.2 miles.

I ran my first Half Marathon this weekend. The Nagoya Half. It was an amazing experience. Right up there with climbing Mt. Fuji. I’ve enjoyed reading your blog over the last year. I’m starting a Cto5K with my husband this week since he has caught the running bug too. I’m already searching for my next half. I love running!

Oh my gosh that would drive me insane. I think I would have had to say something.