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.