This morning I was shocked, then outraged and finally quite saddened. What happened to produce this cocktail of emotions? It all started quite innocently; as usual I checked the Ultrarunning Community Facebook page to see if there was anything interesting on there and came across this post:
‘I have seen someone post a link to a pair or running shorts that were concealed carry-does anyone have this info. Can’t put my finger on it and am looking at some night training and would like to carry my .380. Thanks’
I’m glad she added the bit about carrying her .380 because until she did I had no idea what concealed carry running shorts were. Had the .380 bit been missed out and it had been a man posting I might have come to a completely different conclusion. It wasn’t the firearm carrying that shocked me nor the comments on the post, 101 at the last count, which were quite normal for this forum. They ranging from the moderate and well considered to the totally unreasonable including a few being quite unreasonable in the way they told people they thought were unreasonable to be reasonable. I was just about to get on with some work when I spotted this post:
‘Hey guys, time to stop fighting amongst ourselves, there are non-runners posting comments about how running ultras is bad for you here: http://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2015/jan/04/ultra-running-uk-races-sport
I followed the link and read the fairly innocuous article then read the comments. For those that don’t know the Guardian is a national newspaper in the UK and the readership is considered to be more interested in social reform and environmental issues than the general population. I was therefore shocked to find quite a few vitriolic comments criticising ultrarunning. This is one of the tamer ones.
“These people are crazy – they were not bred for this kind of exercise. They should be paying extra to the NHS for the work on their blown out hearts, knees, hips and feet. People complain about smokers – they die, but these runners just use up health care resources”
Another one said the science is out there, running long distances is not good for you. I found this quite revealing, I’m very interested in this subject and struggle to find any meaningful research. I wondered why someone who felt so negative about something would have the time to study what research there was available.
I was quite angry that people would attack a pastime that in general does not inconvenience other people. I could understand it if it was a noisy sport that attracted large crowds and took part in venues close to housing estates or if planning applications for new Ikea stores were being turned down because they would interfere with ultrarunning courses, but this isn’t the case.
Then I calmed down a bit and started to feel sorry for the people who had nothing better to do than vent their spleen on people who just want to run and push themselves a little further than the average runner, enjoy the countryside and live a healthy life.