Friday Finds is a regular feature in which I collate and share interesting articles and posts on running/health/fitness which I’ve read recently. Some might be inspiring, some might be scientific, some might provoke debate. All are things I’ve found in some way thought-provoking.
With my head still very much in “marathon mode” and the spring marathon season well underway, it seemed appropriate to bring you a “marathon special” on Friday Finds this week. Whether you’re tapering for 26.2 or simply planning to watch a marathon on tv, there are plenty of interesting articles around just now.
First up, an article I shared on social media around this time last year, which was probably part of the growing impetus to begin the Friday Finds feature. Given that most non-runners (if non-magical folk are “muggles”, does that mean non-running folk are “ruggles”?) believe that those of us who run 26.2 miles are mad, I was intrigued to find that research suggests marathon runners might in fact have a greater capacity to learn and remember. In other words, marathon runners are smart! It’s all to do with the bodily processes which help to fuel our runs efficiently also being responsible for improving our memories. Although not, it would seem, our memories of the pain we experience in the last few miles otherwise why would we keep going back for more?
Next up, the rather more controversial topic of marathon pace. While this is another older piece, it tends to resurface every marathon season and stokes the debate a little further. The crux of the debate is whether or not there should be a place in marathons for slower participants, with many arguing that if someone takes longer than 6 hours, then they didn’t really “run” the marathon and their achievement is not worth the same. To me, this is ludicrous. 26.2 miles is a long way, regardless of how long it takes someone to cover the distance, indeed it probably takes a lot more strength and determination to be on the course for 6 hours rather than 3. As far as I’m concerned, if someone completes the course within the individual race’s advertised cut-off time, then they should have the same right as anyone else to wear their medal and T-shirt with pride. I’d love know what you think about this one.
Marathons are increasingly becoming a way for people to raise funds for a charity close to their hearts, and when it comes to events such as the London or New York marathons, running for charity is often the only way to secure a place. But the need to raise funds adds a huge pressure above and beyond the pressures of training, so if you’re fundraising pot is in need of a little boost, here are The Guardian‘s top tips to help you smash your target. From experience, social media is a great way to keep your goals in the forefront of people’s minds, and with regular updates people are more likely to donate, particularly around the weekend of your event. If you’re fundraising this year, then I wish you all the very best.
The difficulty of gaining a place in one of the marathon majors has, it would seem, led to some runners going to extremes in order to take part. The practice of “banditing” the race (i.e. copying someone else’s number and running with it) has been widely reported over the last year or so, particularly around the Boston marathon, and this week another cautionary tale has emerged for those seeking entry to this “holy grail” of marathons. I first came across this story via Jessie at The Right Fits who wrote a post about another blogger named Gia Alvarez. Alvarez qualified for the Boston marathon on two occasions, but was unable to run. Last year, she gave her place to another runner (which I believe is against the rules of this race). When Alvarez tried to use this runner’s finish time to gain a place in this year’s event, she found herself banned FOR LIFE from the Boston marathon. While it may seem extreme, there are rules in place and given the number of people working really hard to get a Boston qualifying time (BQ) there has been a lot of anger around this particular case. It’s always a dilemma when you can’t run and know someone who would love to take your place, but I would always advise checking with the race organisers to see if you can transfer the place. It’s not just about rules, but safety as well, as the details held need to match up to the person running, just in case there should be a medical issue. Again, I’d love to know your thoughts.
And finally, what would you do if you found yourself a little peckish towards the end of your marathon? Take a gel? Maybe have some jelly babies? You probably wouldn’t opt for a burrito and a beer, yet that’s exactly what one runner in the Knoxville marathon chose to do at the 20 mile mark. At first I thought this might be an April fool, but the story wasn’t shared until several days later, so I guess it must be true!
The Running Princess