WHEN a marathon hits the road you’ll be sure of a big crowd of running enthusiasts ready to run for fun or race. However, racing is not for everyone, but to think every runner should try competitions of one sort or the other.
The era of the “Fun Racer” or the average runner has emerged, and to them competitions is not to win, but to better their personal goals. After all, in most races today there are hundreds and perhaps a thousand participants, but only few are top athletes.
The rest of the runners’ battle not against them, but against themselves, and winning is by meeting realistic goals, such as simply finishing the race, but to some runners/athletes, racing is competition because they are so moved by winning.
To the beginner competitor however, the main thing is to get out there, pin his number correctly, start slow and finish seeing if his best time improved, he feels physically better staying in competitive form, and enjoy the special camaraderie that goes on before, after, and sometimes during the race.
The race runner, however, does it the other way, he gets to the race to win, and he challenges himself in defeating his fatigue racing to beat time and his opponents. They always think that road races are competition but when running with other people “to show off what they can do”.
Competitions excite runners because it makes them play the edges, realize boundaries, and follow common sense. It is where they overcome pain, and that’s exhilarating, they challenge themselves in defeating fatigue. And discover an honest flirtation with danger that must be respected.
Competitions are where runners are converted to good runners and good racers, because it is here where they test fitness and discipline but it can also cause both physical and mental breakdowns in fitness and can lead to their frustration.
Both runners suffer individual hardships together in races, it is where they test themselves and against the elements and against each other. However, in return they begin to understand themselves and respect each other. Where the competitive runner’s best winning is sharing his or her unique personal running experience.