Wednesday, February 06, 2008

Half Some Respect

The topic for this week's Take It and Run Thursday is the half marathon. This is a subject that is near and dear to my heart because in about a week, I am going to start officially training for my first half marathon, the Quad Cities Distance Classic.

A half marathon is the only standard distance that I have never raced. I'm excited about it, because I think it'll be a fun distance to race. 13.1 miles is a long way to go, so it will be challenging, but it's a lot more manageable than a full marathon. I am going to train hard for it, but because the mileage is less, I just won't have to put in as much time.

There's just one problem with the half marathon: the name.

There is no other race that is defined by it's relationship to some other race. A 5K isn't a Half 10K, for crying out loud. Calling the distance a half marathon makes it seem like something less important, less challenging than it is.

I have several friends who've run half marathons. Here are some of the reactions they've gotten:

  • Oh, so you didn't want to run a whole marathon?

  • Just a half?

  • So, when are you going to run the other half of your marathon?

Granted these people are not runners, but rather the same people who say things like "I never run unless someone's chasing me" and expect you to laugh like they are the first person ever to come up with that little gem. Runners respect the half, and the unique challenges it poses.


In the movie Spirit of the Marathon, one of the runners jokingly says that he runs marathons for the t-shirt. There is some truth to that, honestly. We don't wear our race t-shirts just to cover our bodies. We wear them so that people will look at them and say, "Wow, she's a runner. That's bad-ass." A half marathon runner, someone who hauls themselves 13.1 miles, deserves that same kind of respect and awe.

So, what can we call a half marathon that will make non-runners give halfers the respect they deserve? Triskaidekaphobia is the fear of the number thireen. How about we rename the half the Trisko? Now that's a race to be feared - and respected.


daisybones said...

Yeah! Or just a Thirteen-One, or something else. Fabulous idea. I think I'd just ask these guys, "How fast is your thirteen mile run? Oh? You'd collapse? Yeah, I thought so."

Sweetie, I was thrilled when I walked three miles a day. The idea of running thirteen? Wow. I've told you before that I hold you in awe, right?

...But squee I did lose 10 pounds- on my way to a less sluggy life;)

chloe elizabeth said...

I love that: Trisko! Fantastic.

I had never thought about how the race is defined, but it's true. And admittedly, having run the "full", I do kind of think everyone should run a full at some point because then you don't have that "half" complex. Maybe?

Non-Runner Nancy said...

OMG, Bets, you are hilarious. I wish you lived closer. You'd be a great friend and running partner. Thanks for making me feel better about running "just a half" -- it was such a bummer for me to give up my marathon dream and do just a half that day. But still, it was a huge triumph too. I'm a triskathoner. Yeah.

Pastor Karl said...

Found your post through the Runners Lounge and think The Trisko is an incredible name! How do we go about getting it officially changed?

Nibbles said...

I'm sorry, Betsy, I just can't top "Trisko." You've answered your own question with such flair that I don't even dare go there! Now if only we could convince Craig Masback and the USATF ... :-)

Nibbles said...

Re: stupid comments about running from non-runners: how about "Do you get breaks in your marathon?" and "How long is the Columbus Marathon? Is it as long as the New York Marathon?"

I've heard 'em all, and I bet you have too!