An insult to anyone that has run a marathon

In The Slowing of The Marathon, Dan Ackman discusses how the median male runner in the 1983 NY Marathon clocked a time of 3:41:49 (8:27 / mile) while the median male runner in the 2003 NY Marathon was 4:28:41 (10:25 / mile). Clearly, middle of the pack runners are going slower, although this is clearly attributed to the greatly increased number of people who are taking on the marathon.

John Cianca – the medical director of the HP Houston Marathon, calls this phenomenon “the dumbing-down of the marathon. … though a ten-minute pace arguably is not running at all … In a way, it’s an insult to the distance.”

Even though Cianca appears to be well published, he’s actually an insult to all runners. Having done it a couple of times now, 10 minutes / mile for 26.2 miles is definitely running and is not an insult to anything. Anyone who’s ever finished a marathon, independent of their pace, should be commended.

  • That is brutal. It’s one thing to note a wider distribution curve for marathon finishers as running has become more popular in the last two decades…it’s something entirely different to say that a 10-minute mile isn’t running and that it’s an insult to the distance. Has this jerk ever run one? Has he trained for months or years to bring his state of fitness to a new level and enjoyed the exhilirating feeling of stepping across the finish line at a marathon? One can only assume that John Cianca runs a 4-minute mile, is a scratch golfer, keeps pace with Lance Armstrong on a bike, and is utterly perfect and world class in every way…

  • Dick

    I’ve run the Chicago marathon twice. Once at almost exactly the 1983 NY average and once at a little bit faster than the 2003 NY average. They BOTH hurt, they were BOTH very hard, they BOTH sure felt like running to me, and the one I ran more slowly caused me to hit the wall a lot harder, simply because I’d been running for that much longer! I call John Cianca the “dumbing-down of the medical director”.

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