Most of the time if you tell a non-runner that you run, they’re pretty respectful. Every once in a while, though, there’s someone who decides to question the athleticism of runners. These are people who probably haven’t run since completing the beep test in high school gym class or when they were on the Grade 4 cross-country team, but they still think they know everything there is to know about running. As runners, this is incredibly frustrating, and for some reason, there are a lot of non-runners out there who seem to believe that since they’re physically capable of running, the sport as a whole is nothing special. Here are a few times non-runners have made these ridiculous claims.
World champion, but not world-class
On Wednesday, a Twitter user went out of his way to comment on a tweet regarding the recently axed men’s running teams at Clemson University. Unprompted, he said, “Football players are runners that do more,” as if this was a good explanation for the cuts made at Clemson. This user, named Jack, eventually caught the attention of Grant Holloway, the reigning 110m hurdles world champion. Holloway tweeted, “So you telling me [New York Giants quarterback] Daniel Jones is faster than me??? You, sir, need some help.”
Hi Grant, i’m not quite sure where you fall into this conversation? I was referring to the fastest NFL players competing in Olympic track races, obviously DK or Tyreek could beat you or me, we arn’t world class athletes
— Jack Whilihan (@JWhilihan) November 11, 2020
Instead of backing down, Jack made an even wilder declaration, saying, “obviously [star NFL players] could beat you or me, we aren’t world-class athletes.” Remember, Jack’s speaking to a man who is one of the fastest hurdlers in world history (Holloway is tied for 18th all-time), a multiple NCAA champion and a world gold medallist. If anyone is world class, it’s Holloway. Granted, maybe Jack didn’t check out Holloway’s Twitter profile, so he might not know who he’s talking to, but still, telling a world champion he isn’t world class is a bold move.
Track and field: a backup plan
In 2019, ESPN’s Max Kellerman made the ridiculous claim that track is “only a sport by a very broad definition,” adding that “track and field stars are usually failed football and basketball players.” Kellerman was talking about Usain Bolt and explaining why he couldn’t be considered the “most electric athlete in history.” Not the best athlete in history. Not even the best athlete of the 2010s. No, just the most electric man in history. Even so, Kellerman couldn’t accept that, largely because running quickly is “an athletic ability, but it’s only one specific kind. We don’t know [Bolt’s] manual dexterity, we don’t know his ability to think on the fly.”
ESPN’s Max Kellerman says track is not a sport and you only get into it because you’re a failure of an athlete and not tough enough…dumbest thing I’ve ever heard. pic.twitter.com/xRpiMO0Lnn
— Travis Miller (@TravisMillerFlo) September 2, 2019
So, because Kellerman prefers sports like football, any athletes like Bolt who don’t catch a ball in their competitions can’t be considered among the best sportsmen or sportswomen of all time. We’re not sure what happened to Kellerman to make him hate running so much, but we figure he must have had some traumatizing experience in phys-ed class.
Marathon running isn’t hard
In a 2015 opinion piece published by NBC Sports, a writer talks about how much he hates runners. “Runners have recently cemented their place as the fourth most nauseating people on the planet, right behind ISIS, The Money Team and any person who ever attended the University of Maryland,” he writes. Hyperbolic statements aside, the writer has a valid point. As runners, we can be a bit annoying sometimes. It’s fine to talk about training and racing with other runners, but if you’re the only marathoner in the room, try to stick to other topics of conversation. Still, this writer takes it a step further, not just saying runners are annoying, but adding that he doesn’t think running is even that hard.
“There is literally nothing impressive about running a marathon,” he writes. “It’s just running. There’s no skill. You’re not dribbling a ball. Or playing an oboe. You’re just slamming your feet against the hard pavement for five straight hours.” Like Kellerman, this guy must have some deeper, more personal issues related to running than simply finding our community to be annoying. Maybe he had a terrible breakup with a runner and he’s still getting over it. We don’t know if that’s what happened, but we do know that just because running doesn’t involve hand-eye coordination or the ability to play a double reed instrument does not mean it is easy. Running 42.2K in any amount of time is impressive and difficult, but world-class runners cover that distance in two hours and change. They might make it look easy, but that’s definitely not the case. Maybe if he tried it out for himself he would realize that.