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Article on Running Plays into Culture Wars (Read 426 times)

    From WSJ.

     

    Author takes quotes from blogs out of context, pretends that the resurgence in U.S. elite running hasn't happened, and cites Youtube videos in his attempt to play up generational conflict.


    I'm back!

      Well, he's still right.

        Yeah, it seems like he's trying to push some buttons but...

         

        Well, he's still right.

        www.hplg.net  The Human Powered League - Solo Cup Series - Trail Building


        Interval Junkie --Nobby

          Robert Frank's comment nails it (bold mine):

           

          Just for the record, the author didn't finish in the top 15% compared to everyone his age, he finished in the top 15% of his AGE GROUP...which in triathlon lingo means he was in the top 15% of all MALES 50-54. He actually finished top 11% of ALL PEOPLE (male and female) aged 50-54, which is roughly where he finished in the overall standings. This doesn't do anything to exhibit the idea that the older outperformed the rest of the field. All it demonstrates is that the 50-54 males were faster than the 50-54 females. 

          The real story is here, that others have alluded to, is that there are MANY more female athletes competing in all sports nowadays (which I personally think is fantastic) and as a result men look 'relatively' faster in overal standings nowadays as compared to 20 years ago. These guys should get over it and celebrate the fact that there are many more participants overall, and celebrate even more that many MORE of these new participants are females, rather than saying it 'waters down' these sports.

           

          Still, the most competitive male AG locally is 40-49, except for the semi-elites in town.  My parade of free stuff for my 39 AG wins has come to an abrupt stop just by having a birthday.  I don't think it's generational.  I think men in their late 30s realize this is the last time to really do something with their bodies.  The 30yos just aren't as committed.  The clock isn't ticking yet.

           

          Then again, I like the narrative that the young are meek minded and the old are hard as nails.  That's how I thought about my grandfather's generation.  But it sure would be nice if someone thought of us that way besides us.

          2014 Goals:  sub-3 Marathon ("Congrats! It's tough to race with poop in the mind" --Wing)

          Current Status 03/17: Drinking beer and eating crap -- all the things I couldn't do before the marathon

             

             

            Still, the most competitive male AG locally is 40-49, except for the semi-elites in town.  My parade of free stuff for my 39 AG wins has come to an abrupt stop just by having a birthday.  I don't think it's generational.  I think men in their late 30s realize this is the last time to really do something with their bodies.  The 30yos just aren't as committed.  The clock isn't ticking yet.

             

             

             

            My personal take on the 40 -49 being such a competitve age group is that this is the point of life where you have more time to dedicate to yourself. e.g. More time to train

             

            Your kids are more self dependant, your career is underway, you are hopefully financially fit, less worries. I'm 48 and I'm lovin where I'm at right now.

             

            I'm no more committed today than I was in my 30's but I am putting in more training time...cause I can!

            www.hplg.net  The Human Powered League - Solo Cup Series - Trail Building

              Robert Frank's comment nails it (bold mine):

               

              Just for the record, the author didn't finish in the top 15% compared to everyone his age, he finished in the top 15% of his AGE GROUP...which in triathlon lingo means he was in the top 15% of all MALES 50-54. He actually finished top 11% of ALL PEOPLE (male and female) aged 50-54, which is roughly where he finished in the overall standings. This doesn't do anything to exhibit the idea that the older outperformed the rest of the field. All it demonstrates is that the 50-54 males were faster than the 50-54 females. 

               

              I'm not sure Robert Frank's comment is correct.  Maybe it is, but I think he's saying among all competitors (regardless of age, but not specifically 50-54).

              2014 Goals:

              #1: Do what I can do. <DOING>

              #2: 365 Hours training

               

                I ran a relatively small 5K (about 600 runners) a couple of weeks ago and the age groups were definitely skewed in a way I wasn't expecting.

                • The fastest group were the 18-29 year olds (no surprise there as it was held on a college campus to benefit their XC teams)
                • The second fastest group were the 40-49 year olds (a 48 year old guy took second overall with a blistering 16:45)
                • The third fastest group were the 50-59 year olds (my group, I finished 9th in my group, my time would have placed 3rd in the 30-39 group)
                • The fourth fastest group were the 30-39 year olds (barely, the 60+ group was nearly as fast)
                • The 60+ group was the slowest; however, they had several men and women who were fast enough to have finished in the top 5 of the 30-39 group.

                Personally I'm willing to buy the theory that the 30-39 year olds are more involved in career and family (not necessarily in that order) and have (consciously or otherwise) opted to workout less.  Is this really the case?  Don't know.

                  There are way more events, and there are way more people participating in running events than in the 1980's. So a semi serious runner definitely stands out more.

                  Runners run.

                    There are way more events, and there are way more people participating in running events than in the 1980's. So a semi serious runner definitely stands out more.

                     

                    And at the more competitive events, the age group distribution makes sense: http://www.coolrunning.com/results/13/ma/Sep15_LoneGu_set3.shtml

                    Come all you no-hopers, you jokers and rogues
                    We're on the road to nowhere, let's find out where it goes

                      Sure, use my PW race as the example. I HAD PUMONIA. Sheesh.

                      Runners run.


                      Fat butt on couch

                         

                        My personal take on the 40 -49 being such a competitve age group is that this is the point of life where you have more time to dedicate to yourself. e.g. More time to train

                         

                        Your kids are more self dependant, your career is underway, you are hopefully financially fit, less worries. I'm 48 and I'm lovin where I'm at right now.

                         

                        I'm no more committed today than I was in my 30's but I am putting in more training time...cause I can!

                         

                        Bingo.  My running tanked exactly when I started working full-time, bought a house, and had a kid in short order.  It is because of those things I don't train like I once did, laziness or generational superiority have nothing to do with it.  It'd be nice to double today, but with young kids to watch and a broken treadmill it isn't going to happen.  I've known a lot of fast runners and this is the most common reason.

                         

                        Another reason is that the people who are fast in their 40s and 50s tend not to be the people who were fast in their 20s.  A large share of people who were fast in their 20s know they will never be that fast again and, even if they stay active, move on to new challenges.  Once the 30-somethings get their kids old enough to engage new hobbies, you get people taking up running for the first time (or first time since school sports) and by their mid-40s or so they're at the top of their game.

                         

                        MTA:  Just the other night I checked the state results page for where I raced in my 20s.  Pretty much all of the guys who were in their 20s and fast back then are nowhere to be seen.

                        "If you want to be a bad a$s, then do what a bad a$s does.  There's your pep talk for today.  Go Run." -- Slo_Hand

                         

                          I guess the part that got me was where he talked about only our older runners had won marathon medals: Deena and Meb (40 and 38, respectively) as if that put the younger generation to shame. He of course didn't mention Manzano's medal or Centrowitz's medal or Symmonds' medal or Rupp's medal or the fact that the present current crop of elites is kicking all kinds of arse.

                           

                          The fact that he manipulated the results of his own race to prove his point was also disappointing.

                           

                          If we were to use the same sort of anecdotal evidence that he employs in his article, we could use his article as evidence of an older generation's willingness to twist any facts, events, or ideas to fit their pre-existing opinions.

                           

                          But since we are not of that generation (I'll call it the Fox News generation), we wouldn't try to base generational claims on bluster, bravado, and a heavy dose of spin.


                          Spring- wishful thinking

                            I don't think age is the issue, but I think there are definitely more non-competitive runners across all ages.  When I say non-competitive, I'm not even referencing local, state, elite levels of competition, but the mindset of training to compete and run as fast as you possibly can.  What the cause of this is may be  I don't know or care.  I just know it is really hard to relate to a runner who couldn't care less if they are improving.

                              Even though elite American distance running is better (faster) than ever at the VERY top, we all know that the depth has decreased markedly for reasons already talked about.

                               I also believe that all those fast, club runners from the mid 70's to mid 80's are turning into 50-59 year old runners (or at least the ones that are still running) ... and they're still pretty fast.  I did a little study based on my PR 10mile race at 52 and checked to see how it would stack up against the 50-54 year old runners from 74-84 and also from 03-13.  The race I used was (is) a very popular and well-attended 10miler which also happens to have all of it's results since 74 on-line - the Cherry Blossom 10 Mile Run in DC.  My time would have been good for no worse than 4th in 74-84 but no better than 3rd and as bad as 13th in 03-13:

                               

                              50-54AG

                              Finish

                              1st 2nd 3rd 4th 5th 6th 7th 8th 9th 10th 11th 12th 13th
                              '74-'84 1 6 2 2 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
                              '03-'13 0 0 1 0 3 0 2 2 1 0 0 0 1

                               

                              I need to step it up some .. and get to the Cherry Blossom!

                                This thread has been had a thousand times, and really I'm less interested in the generational comparison and more in the crappy logic of the article -- that was my point. Crappy logic does not invalidate a claim -- his claim may be true. It's just that his argument is really unsound and sloppy.

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