Boston Marathon- follow-up on that 350 lb. guy
April 17, 2007 4:51 PM   Subscribe

A 350 lb. runner named Jacob finished the race. He was mentioned in a previous post. A number of people felt he would be taking away resources from legitimate runners. He brought his own drinks and medical supplies and finished dead last. Not quite a Rocky story, but I'm impressed.
posted by notmtwain (55 comments total) 10 users marked this as a favorite
 
Don't forget, Rocky lost in the first movie.
posted by Dr-Baa at 4:59 PM on April 17, 2007


Awesome. I owe him or his charities $150.
posted by dobbs at 5:03 PM on April 17, 2007


Yeah, it's a total rocky story. He didn't win, but he proved he could go all 15 rounds. He went the distance. (As someone who watched all six Rocky movies in one day, I know that feeling all too well)

Anyway, this guy is inspiring. Thanks for the links.
posted by piratebowling at 5:07 PM on April 17, 2007


You rock, Jacob. A true inspiration!
posted by WaterSprite at 5:07 PM on April 17, 2007


I did some digging and found the thread (on a popular running message board) where a lot of the criticism came from.
posted by jeresig at 5:08 PM on April 17, 2007


Okay. He did a full marathon. No matter what that is impressive.

Not that it's an impossible task. Physically it's really not —your body will is capable of much more than you think if you are disciplined enough to train it. But mentally... even running more than five or six miles for me become just like some sort of mental torture. Doing for Marathon length? Dang. I hope he sticks with a fitness program he enjoys.
posted by tkchrist at 5:09 PM on April 17, 2007


Aside from being a "bandit," good for him. "A cool 9 hours and 40 minutes after I started." And in weather conditions where a significant qualified number of runners never even showed up to start in Hopkinton.
posted by ericb at 5:09 PM on April 17, 2007


*where a significant number of qualified runners*
posted by ericb at 5:12 PM on April 17, 2007


Is this the same Jacob they're referring to on Lost?

This is impressive. Mucho kudos should go to him and the friends who supported him along the way. As EricB pointed out, there's guys half his size who stayed in bed cuz of a little rain. Jacob braved the elements and the insensitive stares and the clock and a thousand other things - inner demons we can't even address here today in our naivette. He set out to do the Boston Marathon, and he did it. Good for him.

At the same time, don't try this at home kids. While far from the stupidest thing a man in his physical condition can do to himself, there's a reason why his joints started giving out on him around mile eleven. Ask any architect.

If he's serious about bettering his body and his life, he should train not for the marathon, but for the ability to wake up one day and say "I think I wanna run a marathon." Diet and exercise. Then by this time next year when he hits the wall he'd have enough inertia left in him to get through to that second wind.

Personally? I'm still waiting for that over the counter pill that'll make my beer belly go away overnight. I hope scientists hurry up with that cuz I'm starting to get back problems carrying around this extra weight. I don't wanna have to resort to diet and exercise -- what are you? crazy?? and where's my flying car!??
posted by ZachsMind at 5:20 PM on April 17, 2007


...and what this guy said. He put things more succinctly than I did.

Jacob's 350 pounds and he ran a marathon.

I'm only 250 and I get winded speedwalking from my cubicle to the car.

Kudos and common sense, is what I wish for Jacob.
posted by ZachsMind at 5:25 PM on April 17, 2007


Yeah, the weather was insane to boot. Nice fucking job, dude.
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 5:29 PM on April 17, 2007


Boy, there sure are a lot of pricks who are into marathons. I say more power to him. That's awesome. He should totally be proud of himself. I would have quit three miles in.
posted by mckenney at 5:34 PM on April 17, 2007


Yea Boston is like THE MARATHON, not a marathon, so there is a lot of prickishness attending it. You have to be quite good to make the cut, so there's certainly more of an elitist vibe than you get at other marathons.
posted by Mister_A at 5:40 PM on April 17, 2007


Question: how did he qualify officially? what was the qualifying time? did he make it? youth wants to know That poor lady running the marathon in space 9she made the qualifying time) is still up there!
posted by Postroad at 5:44 PM on April 17, 2007


Don't forget, Rocky lost in the first movie.

Don't forget what happened to the first marathon runner.

Good on this guy.
posted by Cyrano at 5:45 PM on April 17, 2007


What's a 'legitimate' runner?
posted by geekhorde at 5:51 PM on April 17, 2007


Official timekeeping ceases after the six hour mark. [wikipedia]

Geez, so one has to do a 13.7-minute mile, otherwise they pretty much tear down things around you.
posted by rolypolyman at 5:54 PM on April 17, 2007




Question: how did he qualify officially?

He didn't. He ran behind the official runners ("bandits" they're called).
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 5:56 PM on April 17, 2007


I loved the picture of Jacob wrapped in his quilt with his feet hanging out! His joints may have slowed him down, but unlike his skinnier counterparts, foot blisters sure didn't. Phat feet rock!
posted by Penny Wise at 5:58 PM on April 17, 2007


This guy is the shit!
posted by Count at 6:01 PM on April 17, 2007


A number of people felt he would be taking away resources from legitimate runners.

Having been a runner for a number of years and spent a lot of time with top collegiate runners I can say that they are not, generally, nice people. At all. Still, that takes the cake for asshole-ish statements even for a long distance runner. What a ridiculous bunch of pricks. It's not like there's only so many power bars to go around or anything.
posted by fshgrl at 6:03 PM on April 17, 2007 [2 favorites]


God, those "letsrun" people are douches, aren't they?
posted by maxwelton at 6:07 PM on April 17, 2007


I was really impressed, until I saw that he had done the whole thing at the speed of a stroll. I don't run, but I've walked that far a few times. It's hard on the knees and feet (and probably a lot more so if you are 350 pounds) but otherwise isn't all that hard. The human body is made to walk -- you just keep putting one foot in front of the other, and on fairly flat ground you can make really good time. I know people really fetishize marathons, but why he would walk that far on pavement when he could be doing it on a nice trail is a mystery to me.

Still, good on him for finishing what he set out to do. For the sake of his joints I hope he takes things easy for a while, and maybe focuses on long-distance bicycling until he drops a couple more pounds. But finishing when all those "real" runners didn't even bother to show up is cool in my books.
posted by Forktine at 6:19 PM on April 17, 2007


What an awesome fellow. Forktine, three months ago this guy was over 400 lbs and did nothing. The inspiring part of the story was how he decided to change his life and went all-out to do it. This marathon was the most physically and mentally exhausting experience of his life and he pushed through. Sure, it averaged out to a stroll, but he was running for the first ten miles (albeit at a slow pace). That's more than he ever ran before. He was dead at that point, but he persevered.
posted by schroedinger at 6:33 PM on April 17, 2007


Well... yeah, they kinda are, maxwelton. But you gotta understand something here -- if you're a reasonably serious distance runner, competing in Boston is what you want to do. People are gonna be dicks if you just show up and are all like, "I'm running Boston too! Wooooo!!!"

I would wager that most of the people running Boston have put an almost mind bending amount and time and effort into securing their rightful place at the starting line. Let me put this in perspective -- I, a 31 year old male, have to run a certified race in 3:10:59 to qualify. That's a pace of 7:17/mile... for 26.2 miles.

Most of us have to train pretty hard to do that... and Boston is our friggin' championship.

If people were treating him like he didn't belong, it's because he didn't.
posted by ph00dz at 6:35 PM on April 17, 2007


They call them bandits? Elitist much?

I wouldn't want to belong to any marathon that would accept me as a bandit.
posted by ZachsMind at 6:36 PM on April 17, 2007


This reminds me of when I ran cross country with a guy who weighed 300+ pounds. He was also the slowest member on the team and finished every race dead last.
However, at every single race, the entire team would race along with him the last 200 or 300 meters pushing him to finish strong (for the astute, that's against the rules, but the officials didn't care). At the same time, the other teams stayed till the end cheering him full tilt on as he crossed the finish line.
Definitely one of my fondest memories of high school.
posted by jmd82 at 6:39 PM on April 17, 2007 [1 favorite]


I agree with schroedinger. Eveything else this guys does from here on out will be gravy on the goose.

Half an hour on a stair master? Big deal. He knows this now.

There was this guy that I trained for a while named Eli. He was huge. Had to be over 300 and was 40 years old at the time. Eli had not done anything physical at all in twenty years. One day the doctor told him his kids were at risk of diabetes becuase of their wieght and he realized what a bad example he was setting for his kids. So rather than bitch at them HE decided to get in shape first.

When he first came in a couple of the other younger kick boxers kind of snickered. And that pissed me off. "Fuck you guys. Your 23 years old and have been athletes all your life. You have no idea how hard it was for that guy to just walk in the door. Every thing he tried will be ten times harder than it is for you." I swore if he quit I was gonna kick their asses.

The first few weeks he had joint problems and wanted more than he could really do. But we just went slow and steady with him. Made sure he could accomplish the goals set.

The guy lost like 80lbs and got so he could do a full hour of rounds on Thai pads. No small feat. Eventually he got his whole family involved and they all stuck with it for a couple of years.

Nobody should ever laugh or deride people for trying.
posted by tkchrist at 6:51 PM on April 17, 2007 [11 favorites]


Those "letsrun" people *are* douches.

Absolutely.

I avoid that message board completely. Most are armchair runners or scrubs with chips on their shoulders who are threatened by accomplished athletes. However, I spent many years training with high level runners and ALL of them were nicer, more open-minded, and humble people than I've met in any other subculture. Letsrun.com is populated by mostly right wing, conservative, largely racist and misogynistic white male college runners with inferiority complexes. Letsrun posters != competitive runners in general.

(Bandits, however, are shoplifters and do not belong on the course of any race that they have not legitimately qualified for, as much as I respect this guy's willpower and mental toughness. Please see the earlier thread's posts for an explanation of why this is so.)
posted by stagewhisper at 7:31 PM on April 17, 2007


Jacob is an incredible inspiration. Bah to those who are whining about Boston being such a big deal. Last time I checked the roads in Boston were paved with tax dollars of all not just elite runners.

Go Jacob!
posted by SuzySmith at 7:35 PM on April 17, 2007 [2 favorites]


My bride just ran the local marathon on Sunday, a course much hillier than Boston, and finished in about 4:20...which is the same pace she's run pretty much every marathon (this was her ninth).

So I understand about the training bit. It's a lot of work. And I kinda get the antipathy about the guy deciding the Boston was his gig rather than just going to do the local Des Moines marathon or whatever might be close to him.

But the whining and sense of entitlement of the jerky dudes on letsrun is so pathetic. Lots of jokes about fatties, even some typical internet tough guy wishes of violence against the guy.

I'm fat (6'1, 240). I've always been, from age 0 through today. There's not much excuse for not being in better shape, but some of the people who joke about "fatties" who are natural athletes--those guys just don't have any idea how hard it is if your body naturally falls to sloth to stay in shape. It's not impossible, but it might literally be twice the work for someone like me to get into the same condition they're in. In any sort of competitive activity, you just aren't going to be able to place with the guys who are naturally gifted.

That's fine, that's what competition is all about. But to deride someone because they simply can't get to where you are is pretty small. That's why Jacob's feat is a great accomplishment, even if he ran it at a glacial pace.
posted by maxwelton at 7:58 PM on April 17, 2007


I honestly don't understand the hostility towards this guy. As a poster pointed out above, the coarse closes after 6 hours so this guy didn't cost the city of Boston any more than it was already going to spend. On his posting he pointed out that the hydration stations were closed every time he passed them. He spent a lot on the sidewalks with no right of way. How is that different from anyone running/strolling in Boston on any other day of the year?

Why not pick a lesser known marathon? Would he have been able to generate the attention by running Grandma's Marathon? He raised money for charity and he improved his physical health. Where's the problem?

Most importantly, he did take his time. He could have pushed himself and wound up using some of those emergency services some people were so concerned with.

You go Jacob!
posted by whatever at 9:01 PM on April 17, 2007 [1 favorite]


"I was really impressed, until I saw that he had done the whole thing at the speed of a stroll. I don't run, but I've walked that far a few times. It's hard on the knees and feet (and probably a lot more so if you are 350 pounds) but otherwise isn't all that hard. "


As a guy who's 6'4 and in the last six months, has gone from a fairly seriously overweight 380 lbs to a much more trim and solidly muscular 325 (working toward an ideal 280,) I can tell you that this is bunk.

I speak from intimate experience when I say that carrying that kind of extra weight is a motherfucker.

Nowadays I gym it up six days a week, put in at least four miles on the treadmill and elliptical daily, burn at least 600kcals a day, and lift at least three times a week, and I can say that I'd be hard pressed to pull off that marathon walking the whole thing.

This guy ran off and on the first ten miles or so.

Imagining loading yourself down with a good 80-100lbs worth of gear, and then running/walking 26 miles only begins to serve as an apt comparison.

The thing that most small/skinny people don't generally understand is that weight and mass on the human body don't exactly scale as proportionately as one would think they would.

Larger and heavier people have to be much more careful of, and tend to be much more susceptible to joint and cartilage strain, sprains, shin splints, etc.

There's a point at which, regardless of your overall level of fitness, muscle mass, etc., you're pushing toward the outside limits of stress and strain that the materials we're made up of, (muscle, bone, cartilage) are geared to withstand.

Even now that I've dropped a good fifty plus pounds, and turned another 30 or so into muscle, I still have to be careful and mindful of my ankles, knees, etc. when exercising.

What this kid pulled off is impressive. I guaran-damn-tee you that he was running on nothing but intense pain and raw determination for the last seven or so miles of that adventure, and my hat is off to him.
posted by stenseng at 9:07 PM on April 17, 2007


Yeah, I’m pretty impressed. I’m astonished his arches held up. That alone had to cause him great pain. I’ve been athletic my whole life. When I was injured I had to do physical therapy and coming back from nothing is a damned hard road. You can take that determination and bank it for every other aspect of your life. It’s very hard to get into shape, maintain it, but once you have the habit, it’s easy to forget how much harder you actually can push. After I was injured my mental attitude was far better than it had been. Hopefully he forms the habits to mantain him in good physical health, he’s already proven he’s got the mental drive. If not to anyone else, most definately to himself.

The guys who do it regularly and at peak performance levels are well accoladed for their efforts. And they should be. It is a monumental effort.
But this guy got nothing, except what he can take home within himself. Doesn’t look like he was asking for anything either.

And really, what the hell is running distance about if not about that going over that physical edge and pushing beyond your limits.
posted by Smedleyman at 9:40 PM on April 17, 2007


Being a serious collegiate distance runner myself, in the past, I can say that Letsrun. com is a noted bottom feed, and infamously immature forum in the running world. There are often good threads there, but the typical exchange would go something like this:

Letsrunner A: "What workout should I do tomorrow - 4 x mile off 2 mins, or 6 x 1000m with 90 seconds"

Letsrunner B: "Fag!"

Letsrun is the home of distinctly second rate runners. A lot of the truly great runners I've known are humble and non-judgemental to an extreme. There are exceptions, of course, but a key trait of great runners is their ability to transcend competitive aspects of the sport and focus on personal excellence. This comes with a great respect for the nature of the challenge rather than the absolute achievement. Often these are closely linked, but in this case they are not.

This isn't a good run, but it's a great achievement in its own right for no other reason than it was extremely difficult for this guy, and it also represents a fundamental shift from a comfort level. Myself, like many others who run seriously, could go out tomorrow and run a comfortable and easy 3 hour marathon as if it were little more than a regular training day. But, this is really not about running and I shouldn't and don't equate the two. It deserves the respect of any thinking person.
posted by jimmythefish at 9:40 PM on April 17, 2007 [2 favorites]


Let me put this in perspective -- I, a 31 year old male, have to run a certified race in 3:10:59 to qualify. That's a pace of 7:17/mile... for 26.2 miles.

Most of us have to train pretty hard to do that... and Boston is our friggin' championship.
If you're seriously considering this a "championship" and a competition, then a 7:17 mile means that you don't belong. It puts you in the top two thousand four hundred people running the race, "champ". So stop bitching about him.
If people were treating him like he didn't belong, it's because he didn't.
No, it's because they're assholes.
posted by Flunkie at 9:46 PM on April 17, 2007


Good lord - those people are absolute cock waffles. He's fucking running on public streets, in the dark, waaaay after the race was officially concluded - any "athlete" (as though jogging is a fucking sport) who derides someone for bringing more attention to this overblown circle-jerk because they're raising money for charity and trying to better themselves deserves a swift kick in the nuts.

Fucking joggers.
posted by Baby_Balrog at 10:10 PM on April 17, 2007 [3 favorites]


Baby Balrog, you get my award for best word of the day. Cock waffles.

HA!

Yeah. I say more power to the guy. So what if he's not part of their ultrafit club? They sound like pricks to me.
posted by geekhorde at 10:27 PM on April 17, 2007


Awesome and inspiring.
posted by nickyskye at 10:33 PM on April 17, 2007


Yay, Jacob.

That "bandit link guy is kind of hoity toity too:
First and foremost, never interfere with anyone else on the course. They earned the privilege of being there, whereas you are only a spectator...Do not even attempt to get a finisher's medal. They are reserved for the dedicated runners who earned their place and put in the effort to train, qualify, and compete.
"not like you, you piece of shit". I suppose without this sort of elitism we wouldn't be all "OoOoOouh, Boston MAR-a-thon". Though I don't know that we're all so squeaky-clean over here as to be calling out the letsrun folks...
posted by Ogre Lawless at 11:56 PM on April 17, 2007


Most of us have to train pretty hard to do that... and Boston is our friggin' championship. If people were treating him like he didn't belong, it's because he didn't.

It's runners with this attitude who don't belong. As long as it ain't against the law to run on the city streets, I'll join any race anywhere. They are my streets too.

The "friggin championship" happens every time you lace up your shoes. Some of us don't need - or want - to pay a ridiculous entry fee, wear a silly number, and receive an "official" time.

Awesome and inspiring.

Absolutely. The fat man's accomplishment is far more impressive than a well-trained runner covering 42-odd km in under 3.15. Obviously, given the large number of runners who do qualify for Boston, this is not a terribly difficult thing to do.

My toughest marathon was my slowest: 3.36 when I was totally out of shape, but thought I could just tough it out. I did, but man-o-shevitz I suffered, and I can only imagine what the fat man endured.

As Ali G says, "Respect."
posted by three blind mice at 12:18 AM on April 18, 2007


I'm torn. The whole "bandit" idea isn't about water stations, but emergency medical coverage imho, which is always a big question when you have X number (truly unknown) unqualified (in the literal sense) runners out there of questionable fitness. The option to do Boston as a charity run without qualifying time gives me less sympathy for those who choose to take risks others may have to pay for.

But then the "real joggers" chime in and I wonder if I ever want to do Boston. Wankers.

Oh, and leaving that issue aside, this guy pushed the limit and then some. If you've never been out of shape, you'll never understand -- I am for the first time in my life and it's staggering how much harder a longish run is, nevermind adding on a couple of hundred pounds. So respect for that, totally.

on preview: The "friggin championship" happens every time you lace up your shoes. Some of us don't need - or want - to pay a ridiculous entry fee, wear a silly number, and receive an "official" time.

Me, I like the energy of such events, and elsewhere (I'm thinking Amsterdam) they're really fun and very inclusive. Don't know about Boston. But you also partly make the counter-argument. If the mileage is the thing, no need to do Boston. My first marathon-length wasn't in a race and it shouldn't be. But if you need the crowd to keep you going, you can do it as a charity run, just register and forget the qualifying time. Or, if you can and want to, qualify.
posted by dreamsign at 12:49 AM on April 18, 2007


What's a 'legitimate' runner?

Basically, someone eligible for a prize. Translated from the assholese: in order to be eligible for a prize, the Boston Marathon can't be your first ever race. You have to have finished another race of X distance in Y time, where Y varies according to X, your age and your gender. I haven't bothered looking up the details; there might be a few more things like being a financial member of an affiliated club, etc etc.

In most other competitive championships, including basketball, chess, poker, there are physical and social barriers that prevent you from getting into the actual competition area without having qualified. You're not allowed on the court, into the arena, to sit at the table, your IP won't be allowed to connect to the server, etc etc. Long-distance running, by its very nature, usually takes place in the outside world in relatively public areas such as roads. There's nothing really stopping people from getting onto the track and even among the competitors while the race is going on. It would be pointless to try, and given that only a tiny number of people have unfriendly intentions towards the competitors (crash-tacklers, Mace-sprayers, people driving a vehicle onto the course, etc), it is better to concentrate resources on stopping those people. Sometimes they have these races on circular tracks in sporting arenas; in these cases, stopping invaders is easier and so non-qualifiers won't be able to get in among the action without great effort. But in the outdoors, on the public road? Nothing much stopping you.

In fact if you jump in, run along and mind your own business, no-one will notice after you've gone a few miles. Given the vast number of competitors, and the mass-production way they hand them out, you can get yourself a drink, a snack bar, probably even a finisher's medal. This is what the assholes meant by "resources".

You're not going to get a real prize, though, without being eligible for it. The race security (including local police) do put in some effort to stop people running onto the track and crossing the finish line in the last few miles; but if you came in from the crowd, say, five or more miles back, it's not likely they'll stop you from crossing the line.

In the unlikely event Joe Random ran on five miles from the end, and proceeded to cross the line first, what happens? Well, it's pretty unlikely. Thousands of people enter this thing; dozens of them are in contention for the prize. If your fitness level is such that you are able to outrun a pack of top-class marathon runners over the final five miles, I will confidently assert that you would have been able to legitimately enter if you'd wanted to. Secondly, cameras have been on the race, news copters have been cruising above it, sports reporters whose pomposity and hairstyles cannot be comprehended by mere mortals have been exhaustingly analyzing and commenting on the race and the runners ... suffice to say, it'd be noticed. No prize for you!

(As an aside - a Kansas City Shuffle could be done. You'd need two almost-identical--from the point of view of American race officials--runners, each of whom would easily finish in the top 20% outright. Two well-chosen African-Africans or Asians of the same build and precisely the same well-below-average height would probably do. About 3/4 of the way through the race, Johnny A steps near the crowd and gets meleed by well-wishers, backslappers, etc, including Johnny B; a firecracker is set off about twenty feet away; some of the well-wishers fall down, including A; B, now dressed identically and damp from "sweat" struggles to his feet and takes off; A, now wearing B's overcoat, melts into the crowd. But that's an exercise for another screenplay. This one's all about the heroic fat guy. Back to him.)

Many people, for various reasons that amount to a mixture of self-punishment, self-improvement, and self-aggrandizement will, despite being unable to qualify, attempt to run the same course as the runners of a marathon. Sometimes they do this on different days, or in different places. Often it's a goal of theirs to qualify and run. Any "resources" they might "take away" are of little financial value and in no way denies them to any qualified runner, if for no other reason than that they are way behind the qualified runners. Often their friends will supply them with drinks, a support car to make sure they don't collapse, etc; they're supplying their own resources. It's all to the good, and no decent person would, in my view, do other than applaud them for it. Equally, no decent person would interfere with a runner, qualified or not.

Way to go, Jacob.
posted by aeschenkarnos at 12:57 AM on April 18, 2007 [2 favorites]


Regarding the ambulance coverage, Jacob no more denies ambulance coverage to other runners than he would if he were in a nearby park running around and around it. Or in his room, doing pushups. Arguably anyone who chooses to drive a car on that day equally denies ambulance coverage to runners, because of the risk of accident. There are extra ambulances, and first aid stations along the course, scheduled on race days.
posted by aeschenkarnos at 1:01 AM on April 18, 2007


It's still a logistical concern, aeschenkarnos. Though no doubt it is taken into account but must necessarily work off estimates.

Regarding your point about "they are way behind the qualified runners", is it the case that all runners in Boston are seeded? Or are there top seeded and then the main bulk of the crowd? Because I've never been in an all-seeded event. Don't know if they exist. It's a joy to be seeded because you're not suddenly spending 20 exhausting minutes dodging people walking from the very start, pushing strollers, or otherwise behaving as human obstacles for anyone on the course moving as fast as a slow jog. No exaggeration. The events I've been to were beyond crowded. One extra runner of course is a drop in the bucket. I wonder if the critics can cite legitimate numbers on unregistered runners in these kind of events.

also: if I'm wrong and these people are really griping about gatorade and a finishing medal then screw em.
posted by dreamsign at 1:26 AM on April 18, 2007


Regarding your point about "they are way behind the qualified runners", is it the case that all runners in Boston are seeded? Or are there top seeded and then the main bulk of the crowd?

I meant that a 350lb man (or a double amputee, or similar physically disabled person) is going to reach any given aid station well after the qualified runners pass it. So the qualified runners will get first go at the Gatorade. I have no idea about seeding - I take it that it determines your position in the starting pack? That would make a lot of sense, to give last year's top X% the front X% of the crowd, for exactly the reasons you listed.

My impression was that these people really, really are griping about Gatorade and a finishing medal, but griping more about him being in their "territory" and not being one of them.
posted by aeschenkarnos at 1:33 AM on April 18, 2007


Most local marathons ask that you self-seed, I think, if my experience watching my wife start is any experience. On bigger marathons like Portland they put up signs with minutes/mile on them, and you congregate near them according to your pace. I'm sure you get a few dorks who are convinced they run six minute miles who really do nines, but they seem to be the exception. Mostly folks seem friendly and polite, so there can't be all that many of the letswank guys in any one race. Probably more of them at something like Boston than the East Bumfuck Jogfest, of course.
posted by maxwelton at 2:58 AM on April 18, 2007


Ok that is an inspiring story indeed
posted by chrisranjana.com at 5:32 AM on April 18, 2007


Flunkie -- that's essentially the fastest 2,400 people in the whole world. Not bad company, considering how big the world is and all.

Anyway, I've got no beef with anyone who wants to get out there and do a marathon at any pace... and by no means do I think that those message boards guys are representative of the larger running community. Run. Walk. Whatever.

If you're out there having fun, more power to you!

It might be worth pointing out, though, that there are a ton of walker friendly marathons out there that Jacob could've done and been more than welcome at. (Portland is a fantastic example of such a race.)

He didn't have to bandit Boston, which, as we talked about in the other thread, is a pretty selfish thing to do...

He wouldn't have gotten the same amount of attention, but I betcha he would've had a lot more fun.
posted by ph00dz at 6:28 AM on April 18, 2007


Flunkie -- that's essentially the fastest 2,400 people in the whole world. Not bad company, considering how big the world is and all.

In most major marathons there are at least a few elite runners - who needs a few thousand of them?
posted by three blind mice at 7:16 AM on April 18, 2007


God damn, that's ridiculous. Good on him. I can't run more than 3 miles without getting BORED OUT OF MY MIND, so more power to him just for finishing, no matter WHAT his pace was.
posted by antifuse at 7:38 AM on April 18, 2007


Well, this guy went and did something that most people probably wouldn't think he could have accomplished, and did it with people getting huffy and in his face about it.

I guess I'd better get off my arse and do something similarly out-of-the-box for me, because I can't have some fat guy running around being better than me.

joking, obviously. in all seriousness, good for this guy, and f the rest of em.
posted by davejay at 4:24 PM on April 18, 2007


I am really amazed at the sheer number of people who think it's outrageous that people who haven't qualified to run the Boston Marathon in all of the legitimate way shouldn't be allowed to take part in the race. (((Mind Boggles)))

"Most importantly, he did take his time. He could have pushed himself and wound up using some of those emergency services some people were so concerned with."

Yes, I agree. Good for him. I respect Jacob's accomplishment, and from reading his blog he sounds like a generally considerate person who did his best to make sure that his own personal race had the least amount of negative impact possible on the other runners. However, I think a lot of people are relating to him as a specific person with a specific goal he dreamed of attaining, and letting that get in the way of thinking rationally about *why* it is unfair to the other runners who have paid their dues, paid their entrance fees, signed their waivers, and had their own dreams of racing at Boston come true. The issue is that Jacob is *not* the only bandit at Boston, and most of them are not considerate as he was.

"They call them bandits? Elitist much? "

uh, no. ANYone who runs any race without paying an entrance fee, signing the appropriate waivers, etc. for the privilege of taking part in an organized event is called a bandit. 5k, marathon, whatever, it's the act of deciding you'd like to enjoy all of the benefits of being in a road race (the expensive permits, the road closures, the clocks to check your splits, company in the form of other runners to test yourself against) but not paying for it. In other words, shoplifting.
This gem from proud bandit three blind mice illustrates the mindset perfectly (thanks!):

"Most of us have to train pretty hard to do that... and Boston is our friggin' championship. If people were treating him like he didn't belong, it's because he didn't.
It's runners with this attitude who don't belong. As long as it ain't against the law to run on the city streets, I'll join any race anywhere. They are my streets too.
The "friggin championship" happens every time you lace up your shoes. Some of us don't need - or want - to pay a ridiculous entry fee, wear a silly number, and receive an "official" time. "


No, but looks like "some" of us want all the bennies still!

"I wouldn't want to belong to any marathon that would accept me as a bandit. What a ridiculous bunch of pricks. It's not like there's only so many power bars to go around or anything."

Okay, now *that* is a good point. Race supplies are MAGIC!

Jacob is an incredible inspiration. Bah to those who are whining about Boston being such a big deal. Last time I checked the roads in Boston were paved with tax dollars of all not just elite runners.

Now, this here is that excellent point about the roads being paved with money from all of our tax dollars again.

I think you are right! Fuck those stupid runners. I can't believe that they close the roads to traffic for this. Those drivers paid good money to build those roads and if they want to drive on them during this jogfest, they have every right to! And what's with all the cops and barricades keeping the pedestrians off the roads during the race?! Some %$# nerve. We paid for these roads, we should be able to amble out whenever and wherever we like. Those complaining elitist joggers who think they are participating in an athletic event- a FOOTRACE rather than a freakshow carnival - as Baby_Balrog so elequently puts it:"(as though jogging is a fucking sport)" can man up and go around us.

Also:
"Fuc That "bandit link guy is kind of hoity toity too:

First and foremost, never interfere with anyone else on the course. They earned the privilege of being there, whereas you are only a spectator...Do not even attempt to get a finisher's medal. They are reserved for the dedicated runners who earned their place and put in the effort to train, qualify, and compete.

"not like you, you piece of shit". I suppose without this sort of elitism we wouldn't be all "OoOoOouh, Boston MAR-a-thon"


Ooh, Yes! I am outraged by that statement as well! What an elitist to ask that people who did not put in years of training with the goal and dream of COMPETING against their peers in all the various age groups in Boston to *not* interfere with the racers and *not* help themselves to the only award most of these dedicated athletes will have to show for their efforts when the day is done. (((boggles again)))

For those of you defending the act of banditing: ethically, if you are helping yourself to the privilege of being able to experience something you did not earn or pay for simply because you decide you deserve it as much as all of the people who actually had to work very hard to get where they are, well, that's pretty low. If you want the thrill of running a marathon, there are well over 55 (!!) certified courses in the US where you can do so, and where race directors will be happy fully prepared for you, focussed on the back of the pack, and extremely happy to have you.

For those of you saying it's simply sour grapes on the part of the qualified runners (and why so many of you insist on using that word in quotes is beyond me) when they complain about bandits, it's not. Bandits are a logistical nightmare in an athletic competition. In Boston runners are seeded according to a corral system based on time, and these corrals are extremely regimented. Nobody gets into any corral without showing there number, which designates how far back their corral is (based on qualifying times). The more benign bandits, such as Jacob, will be polite and wait until the last corall empties completely before beginning their own run. Most unregistered runners are not as polite, and instead jump into the course at less supervised points along the first few miles. The roads in Hopkinton are very narrow and this creates a lot of problems. I used to run 6 minute pace and in the second mile I'd be jostled often by frat boys without numbers who would jump onto the course on a dare to see how long they could hang. The elite runners, those at the very front, are the ones least affected by these jerks. The runners who most have my respect, the age group runners who toil and train day in and day out in obscurity for this race- this chance to compete against their peers- are the ones who are most negatively affected by these self-entitled morons.

The 50,60,70, and yes, 80 year old athletes who train all year for this should be your heroes, not the yahoos weaving in and out of them who can't bother to get it together enough to make an effort to run Boston legitimately, through a charity (there are 20!) and with respect for their fellow competitors.

"Having been a runner for a number of years and spent a lot of time with top collegiate runners I can say that they are not, generally, nice people. At all.

Very odd. I've had the exact opposite experience, and I was lucky enough to meet hundreds of runners from every part of the world and every level of accomplishment. I can count at least 20 such people who I could and can depend on unfailingly at the drop of a hat and who can only be described as kind, thoughtful, giving human beings. Now that I am long out of the running community, I've yet to connect with more than a handful of people I think that fondly of. fshgrl, I can only hope those are the same jerks who are now posting on the cretin filled letsrun boards under 100 aliases. My experience has been that runners of all levels respect how difficult the sport is- there's no short cuts, so runners who aren't as fast but are dedicated to doing their best are respected more than naturally gifted athletes who cruise on talent or showboat. Definitely I can tell far more stories of the sort that jmd82 relates.

I hope that Jacob does not sour on marathoning after his woefully undertrained finish, that he finds he enjoys running, and that he continues to enjoy the sport. I hope he registers for some shorter races, joins a club, and sees improvements in his fitness that bring him continued satisfaction. His sort of spirit is absolutely welcome in the running community, I just hope that next time he considers running a race as a registered participant.
posted by stagewhisper at 7:10 PM on April 18, 2007


He shouldn't have run Boston. Period.

Boston is an elite event and the people in it have put an incredible amount of time preparing and competing in other events merely to make it there. There are several other high profile Marathons that he could have entered legitimatly. There is no reason that he absolutely had to run Boston. Frankly , despite his accomplishments, it was selfish of him. The World Series of poker is a good comparison. You have to pay to get into it. No matter if you are a autistic paraplegic poker savant whose only dream is to win a poker championship, you have to pay to get in. Same thing with Boston, you have to pay your dues to get in. That is what makes it such a special race, and bandits make it less so.

The disrespect towards runner's here is also pretty shocking. If you find what Jacob did inspiring than what about the other runners. They have all put a bare minimum of 2 years of extremely intense training, probably running about an average of 80 miles a week and peaking out at while over 100. That is equally if not more impressive than what Jacob did.
posted by afu at 7:32 AM on May 17, 2007 [1 favorite]


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