Saturday, November 17, 2007

"ever notice how it's always runners who find dead bodies?"

Years ago, another runner asked me what my 5K PB (Personal Best) was. I had no idea. I ran cross-country races for years and PBs have no place in the sport.

Cross-country is essentially trail running, and, unlike track or road running, the routes take runners through forests, up and down hills and even across water. The dissimilarity of route distances and conditions combined with unpredictable weather and underfoot conditions make it impossible to compare times, and international meets don't even record times. (Btw, this may be one of the reasons why it was ditched as an Olympic sport. I still can't believe though that table-tennis IS an Olympic sport and that tug-of-war is a "recognized" sport while cross-country is nothing, but I need to let that go.)

When I explained that PBs didn't factor into my life, aforementioned runner said something about me being "one of those joggers." Long accustomed to the disdain of track and long-distance runners, I decided not to be offended.

Well, now I am offended by another definition of runner (vs. jogger), this one by Pearl Izumi. Check out the ads they ran in Runner's World, below.

pearl izumi 1pearl izumi 2

Here are the two most offensive parts:

Joggers mostly stick to gentrified stretches of pedestrian walkways...
. Runners, on the other hand, cut through dumpster-laden back alleys or disappear into remote wooden areas.... [E]very forensic program on TV begins with a runner stumbling across some wayward soul who climbed into the wrong panel van. In fact, if it weren't for runners, you wonder how many of these crimes would ever get solved. Better lace 'em up. Because someone, somewhere is missing. So do your civic duty. Run like an animal.

.... And, with all the jogging going on out there, runners are losing the soul of their sport. A sport that started with our ancestors running down dinner and remains to this day predatory at its core. Joggers are prey. Runners are hunters....

OK, so I know Pearl Izumi is trying to be all provocative, to get a bunch
of egotistical men to believe they belong to an elite group so that they'll buy Izumi shoes. I say "men" because I have a hard time believing most women would buy into this, but I'm probably wrong. The thing is that it has crossed my mind more than once that trail running alone may not always be safe and that's not something I really want to think about. Don't even get me started on the panel van reference. And referring to anyone as "prey" is pretty messed up.

I have been mulling over whether to send a complaint letter to the company (I do love my complaint letters), but I think I would just get dismissed as a "jogger." Sales speak louder than words and after this, I won't ever buy their shoes again.



SunnyShine note: It's either runners or people walking their dogs. I have been paranoid that one of my dogs would find a body or body part after they found a little girl along one of the routes I used to take early in the morning. The ad is offensive but that seems to sell things these days.


Marnie said...

Sometimes when people learn that I like to walk in the Don Valley they look concerned and ask, "Do you feel safe?" Let's see ... this morning, on the "safe" city sidewalks, I passed a nasty car accident that must have just happened. Ten minutes later I had to break into a run to avoid being killed by an oblivious left-turning car as I was crossing with the light. Give me the trails any day.

complain away said...

Argh, I hear you. I'm just about to post about a nasty accident I witnessed yesterday, and it was clearly a different one from yours.

More importantly, Marnie, I think my dad might be a new reader of your blog. I sent him the link because I thought he'd like the photos. He loves it.

Marnie said...

Oh, cool, thanks! Maybe this will be the incentive I need to get back to posting. I got out of the habit and it's so hard to get back into it.

Emory said...

Nephew ran CC for Clemson University, and has never found a body or a part.

I did not know CC was not part of the 'Ollies,' which sounds absurd to me; given the Marathon is the center piece of the events.

I am sure Thersipus wasn't running on a paved surface. Why not just get back to basics, and have Marathoners take to the hills.

Don't see Nordic skiers on highways either, but they maintain an event or two in the 'Chilly Ollies'

* ---> Goes back to counting American Dollars, and is sending some to brother to use as TP.*

Marnie said...

And steeplechase is still an Olympic event. Now there's an odd sport. Jump over the hurdles, land in a puddle, keep running ...

Emory said...

I thought steeplechase was an equestrian event. Yep, this is definatly an actionable complaint.

Wonder what the CC'ers did to tick off the IOC. Don't suppose they had a 'lemming' incident, do you?

*---> yearns for the days of blood sport, "men built like oxen, grass stained and bloodied" sweaty and magnificent, crushing bone and imposing their will....*

complain away said...

Steeplechase I think was an equestrian event first. I've heard that it was named for the distance markers of the race, which were the town's steeples. Crazy Brits.

The track version is a really interesting sport to watch. Have you noticed that some runners actually step on the hurdles, rather than jumping over them, as "regular" track runners have to? Methinks this would take a fair amount of coordination.

I'm not sure it's an Olympic sport for women yet though... could be wrong. Maybe landing in puddles isn't considered ladylike.