A Letter From The Slowest Generation

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Ready to Run!

It’s times like these that make me very happy to have this little blog of mine… I would have posted this in the comment section of Mr. Hellikers’s article in the Wall Street Journal, but you aren’t able to leave comments, because apparently I have to subscribe to WSJ ($26.99 for first three months) to be able to have an opinion. This is a great way to ensure editorial only receives comments from the most dedicated (paying) readers. Good job WSJ.

If you haven’t had a chance to click through the article... Mr. Helliker attempts to make the point that the current generation of runners is the “slowest generation” because they partake in fun runs that do not keep track of race times. While I’m on the cusp of being a Gen Y member, born in 1980,which I believe is the generation to which, based on his article, he is referring to (20 – 33 years of age on average), I disagree. I decided to publish my response below.

Dear Mr. Helliker,

As I ran the Color Run with my 7-year-old daughter last Sunday I realized that, yes, there were a lot of walkers in this “run”, but I also realized there were a lot of people out walking who might otherwise still be in bed because they aren’t a trained marathon runner like yourself. There were lots of families running together. I’m sure they felt like this was a fun way to get the entire family out for a fun run that wasn’t super intimidating. I’m sure you are aware of the recent reports on childhood obesity? Childhood obesity has more than doubled in children and tripled in adolescents in the past 30 years. Crazy, right, that this happened under the watchful eye of your very “fast” generation? Do you  disagree that we as Americans should be doing everything in our power to make fitness fun for our youth? Even if that means not tracking race times?

I was in the company of a few friends Sunday who aren’t typical 5K runners, but after partaking in the Color Run, felt like maybe a 5K wasn’t so bad. Wow, what a concept, introducing folks to the world of running who wouldn’t typically see themselves as runners. It took making something fun and not-intimidating to give them the confidence to want to do another 5K. Maybe even one that tracks their race time, maybe over a few years, giving them the confidence to run a marathon.

So please Mr. Helliker, you continue to run your marathons and finish in the top 11%… Make sure we all know about it. It’s because of people like you that many people feel intimidated to get out and run. It’s people like you who would make it uncomfortable for me to introduce a 5K to my 7-year-old daughter.

Would be great to see an article about what we can do to stop the removal of physical education programs from our schools or maybe what advice you have for first time runners. Instead of bashing an entire generation, you might want to use your extensive running knowledge and expertise to help better it.

Sincerely,

A member of the “slowest” generation

 

 

 

 

 

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Posted on by Amanda in Fitness & Health, Parenting 4 Comments

4 Responses to A Letter From The Slowest Generation

  1. Dave Treber

    Googling a bit on that article as it really hit a nerve with me. Good site! I also thought that, not going to subscribe just to post a comment. He left us his e-mail, suppose we could write to him. I just found the WSJ piece to be a rather poorly-written with mostly quotes from people who not only come across as quite bitter but also who have their own agenda and don’t really represent but a small segment of the running community. I used to train a lot for marathons and did OK at that. Once I got interviewed after Boston and it was a rather pleasant experience and then I read the paper, “Washington DC area used to have runners who could win this and we had to go all the way back to the 2:50s to find this guy”….. I have no idea what the runners who were interviewed in this article thought, but in my case back then I just laughed and said, oh well, people do tend to see what they want to see in any situation. Best wishes in your running and all you do!

  2. Amanda

    Thank you so much Dave. I am so happy to see your comment here. I know I had a lot of hits to my site the day I posted, but wasn’t sure if I made sense to anyone. I’m not a great runner, but I feel like these fun runs are definitely a way to get started. How unfortunate that someone left that comment on the Boston article. Anyone who gets out and gets active should be commended being that there are so many distractions to deter us from keeping healthy. Thank you for your well wishes!

  3. sabrina james

    YAY Amanda! Love to see you using this platform to share your opinion. A very good one, indeed! So happy that you took Mia on this run. I know how important family fitness is to you and you are a true role model for all of us. Slowest generation? Boo! More like people finding ways to make fitness fun, thus doing more of it. Big claps to you for speaking out. xx

  4. Dave Treber

    You wrote: “How unfortunate that someone left that comment on the Boston article.” Thanks for following up! To clarify, this was a long time ago – pre-blog — and I was actually featured in the newspaper under a headline of “Bad Day for Americans.” It was a very similar article to what was in WS Journal, so sadly there’s always been people like that. Way back then, I had a lot of friends ready to write in to the newspaper and I just said, no problem, any day out running is a good day. I could not run anything near that time now, but the memories of being in Boaton with family will remain always. From reading your great site you’ve got lots of great running memories and continued best wishes in all do!

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