Are frilly events and “fun-runs” ruining the competitive spirit of races?

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I saw something recently in The Wall Street Journal that prompted me to write a blog. The gist of the article was that with the increasing number of “fun runs” and other like-events, competitiveness has dwindled over the years as a result. This sparked a passionate debate online, with everyone chiming in from every angle on the subject.

First off, I am 29, and I guess that makes me a “generation Y” baby. I can’t deny that over the years I have seen a general increase in the entitlements and expectations some younger people have of the world around them. This is troubling to me because I feel like this type of attitude is likely setting one up for failure, and is not very realistic or indicative of the real world and everything it can throw at you. If you live in your own bubble where everyone is always a winner no matter what, how will you ever find motivation to strive for better or personal growth?

Ultimately though, I believe that personal success is relative. There are a lot of different aspects of this that come into play – such as ones goals, motivations, and personal aspirations. I would never wag my finger at someone who is otherwise a couch potato that decided to run in one of these “fun” events that are becoming so popular. Who am I to criticize their personal journey with fitness? Unfortunately the reality is we live in an era where the conveniences of technology and commerce have us living more sedentary lifestyles. Frankly I’m happy to see people up and taking in some fresh air. This is the first part of my mental construct when it comes to this issue.

On the contrary, the second part of my thought process tends to have me turning a bit of a cold shoulder to these types of events. While any person who decides to get some physical activity has my full backing, I can’t help but feel like some of these frilly events dilute the true experience of running, and potentially send the wrong picture to aspiring competitive runners. Much of our modern day entertainment now has to be such a huge production in order for our attention spans to escape the micro second range, do we really need to drag that mentality into everything else? It is hard-wired into my DNA that when I race, I am racing to win and place in the top brackets. The journey I have while pushing myself to my mental and physical limits is plenty good for me, sans splashing color all over myself or prancing around in a costume.

In conclusion, I don’t think there is a clear answer, and once again it always comes back to a persons personal goals. The fact of the matter is that competitive runners will always emerge to be competitive. For some the victory comes simply by finishing. Others simply want a healthier and more active lifestyle.

Whatever your motivation is and whatever your goals are, own it and go out and get it.

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