Chad Stafko’s op-ed piece in today’s (11/13/13) Wall Street Journal accuses runners of pursing their activity for the attention.  “There is no more visible form of strenuous activity than running,” Chad wrote.  “These days, people want more than ever to be seen . . . (i)f you’re actually doing something like running . . . what better way to fulfill the look-at-me desire?  The lone runner is a one-person parade.  Yay.”  [See the entire article at].

Chad is obviously a brave man – or a glutton for criticism – because it doesn’t take a seer to predict the reaction to his article.  The running community has already roused itself against him with a torrent of responses; when I checked the website early this morning there were already over 300 responses – all of the ones I looked at were negative.

Chad is also deeply mistaken.  As a [attention-getting self-promotion alert, Chad!] longtime runner and marathoner, I can tell him that as with any human activity – including editorializing – there are no more braggerts and show-offs among runners than in the general population, but also that the vast majority do not run for the attention.  There are many reasons for this:

First, most people don’t really care what we do.  They’re busy with their own lives.  A passing motorist is more likely to hit a runner than flash a thumb’s up.

Second, any positive attention pales in comparison with the effort it takes to run regularly, let alone prepare for a marathon.  If attention is all we want, there are much easier ways to get it.  Like writing intentionally controversial op-eds.

Third, most runners – myself included – run because doing so is the easiest, cheapest, most natural, and most democratic way to enrich the body and soul.  Runners don’t need to belong to an expensive gym; we don’t need to buy expensive equipment; we don’t need to reserve court time or buy lift tickets.  Anyone can get outside wherever they are, at any time, and run.

Actually, as a runner, I prefer not being seen.  I especially like running very early in the morning, before dawn, when my city is asleep.  The roads are mine, and I can relax and enjoy the moment.  I come home refreshed and ready to face the day – and I feel no more need to talk about it than I would talking about brushing my teeth.

I’m guessing that Chad is not a runner.  If he were, he would know this.


About horowitzrun

Jeff is a certified running, cycling, and triathlon coach, and is the author of "My First 100 Marathons" (Skyhorse Press 2008) and "Smart Marathon Training" (Velo Press 2011). An obviously addicted runner, Jeff has run at least one marathon in every state and on 6 continents, including marathons in South Africa, China, Bangkok, and Antarctica. Jeff is available for group, one-on-one, and virtual coaching. Options include: 1. Basic Training Plan. This includes a customized training schedule geared towards a goal race, with a detailed running schedule that would include all distances and target times for each workout, including speedwork, tempo, and endurance sessions. 2. Complete Fitness and Race Plan. This includes the plan listed above, plus the non-running workouts and drills that runners need for better overall fitness and performance. You would get strength & core workouts, as well as run-specific training drills and stretches. 3. Virtual Coaching. This includes all of the above, implemented on a week-by-week basis. We review each week's progress at week's end so that adjustments can be made. The program is tailored to suit you right up to race day. It involves more contact, on a weekly or even daily basis. 4. Full Coaching for athletes in the Washington DC area. All of the above, plus a weekly workout together including speedwork, drills, and strength training. 5. Individual track sessions. One-on-one track-based workouts. Contact Jeff for pricing.
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2 Responses to WSJ Op-Ed: “OK, YOU’RE A RUNNER. GET OVER IT”

  1. Ann Mooney says:

    One of my favorite posts! Can we please start referring to running together as 2-person parades?

  2. Grill Vogel says:

    Chad Stafko: angry fat guy. Remember when the WSJ used to cover politics, finance, and international affairs?

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