As a 4:45 marathon runner with no aspirations to do IM anyway, in my opinion the taking part and having a go, whether or not you've any chance of a 'good' time is to be celebrated and promoted.
Why the hell should people who will struggle to beat the cut-off not have a go if they want to? So what if they are slow?
TH2 - you seem to deride this way of looking at sports, as if you should only take part if you have met a certain standard (set by whom?). What's wrong with just taking part and challenging yourself?
Wilkie - that is not what I am saying at all and I am certainly not deriding celebrating taking part in any way (read my last post). All I was attempting to do was to bring some balance to the debate about the Leder comment. After UI's original post, the responses tend to either (1) humorous or (2) this guy (a <8hr IM) is talking bull. No-one was prepared to 'debate' that he may have a valid point or that his advice might be targeted at a different audience to the glorious folk who are happy to complete an IM at whatever cost and in whatever time. Hence my Pfitzinger analogy...
Personally, I believe that he does have 'a' point. But that doesn't mean that I believe that people should not be congratulated for challenging themselves. FWIW (and you can argue, 'not very much'!) I believe that a bigger challenge for most mortals would be to tackle shorter distances and compete them faster. But there seems to me that there is a trend in many sports (not just tris) to stretch oursevles beyond reasonable limits and then to celebrate what is basically pretty poor performance but dress it up as an 'admirable finish'. Having said that, I will always stay behind at the end of a race to applaud the last finishers, because I can celebrate their achievements. But to return to the golfing analogy, my German friends would have scored better if they had putted their way round the golf course. But what would have been the point? Similarly, many skiers scramble/slip/fall their way down black runs in order to 'finish'. Great and well done. But perhaps they would be better off perfecting their technique and skiing red runs in safety and control. In that, I feel that Leder has a point.
So perhaps, there is a point at which attempting an IM does not make sense. It might be 3-4 hour mara pace it might be 6-7 hours. I don't know. But when someone of Leder's calibre states that this may be a limit, then it is probably worth thinking about rather than dismissing as Bllx! IMHO, of course!!
So TH2 along those lines what sort of events/courses whould you ban disabled athletes from? It is the same reasoning that had women banned from the Boston marathon until 1968!!
Enjoyment takes many forms and to just be in a certain place doing a certain thing is for some people the only reason to do it and is as valid a reason as any.
The trouble is always that when someone is very good at something, ley people assume they actually know what they are talking about and that everything they say is a gospel truth.
Seriously now - what's your IM time then TH2?
*hops up and down*
If we take what Mr Lothar says literally re completing it must surely be nonsense - I wonder what proportion of Pirate IM finishers meet his recommended mara times? Of course, it may lose something in translation - perhaps he meant compete rather than complete
Re the 'take part and survive' culture, I am proud to be part of it (maras, ultras, cross-country ski maras...crap at all of them, made the cut-offs and lived to tell the tale!). Agree that some of us will never get that much faster with training, but are good at plodding on and keeping a positive attitude. High boredom threshold helps!
Still deliberating whether I could actually survive the cut offs for IM (4.30 mara pb!) but will probably try middle distance at least. Re 'the IM will always be there' - well, yes it will, but some of us are so middle-aged that there is a bit of 'now or never' mentality about getting round to it before the old bod gives out completely!
I wonder how Lother does his calculation. FB suggests 5x your Oly time...
In running I apply the Paula principle (take her time and double it to estimate mine). Spot on for my mara time. However, if I apply it to Chrissie Wellington's world record IM time that gives me 18 hours for IM which is not so encouraging...
What was the reason that women were banned from Boston until 68? I had always thought it was because "they" (whoever they were) assumed women couldn't safely run long distances.
Smithy I'm not sure anyone here is saying that this chap's comments are gospel truth. I think they are just trying to encourage debate.
However, it's always going to be difficult to debate something like this reasonably on a forum which, by its very nature, celebrates those who "just give it a go".
TH2 you are missing one very big point and that is it is not always about the score or the time. A challenge is as individual as the person, you cannot say what would be a bigger challenge for someone because you are not them and cannot know what is important to that individual.
Sorry - plagarism here for a bit:
"It is not the critic who counts, nor the man who points how the strong man stumbled or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena; whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly...who knows the great enthusiasms, the great devotions, and spends himself in a worthy cause; who, at best, knows the triumph of high achievement; and who, at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who know neither victory nor defeat."
Plooding On - I am not sure if this question has a -ve implication or not?
But the answer is I have never completed an IM. And the reason is a very personal one. For me to take the challenge on, I would want to reach a (personal) level of achievement that would make sense. This would be very different from an elite athlete and from someone who is happy to walk around the run course. BUT that is not the point. My goals will be different from anyone else's. As I say, each to their own. I applaud anyone who takes on their own challenge whatever that may be. It could be a 16hour IM, it could be to do a <1hr sprint. This year, I have gone long with ultra marathon's (2 x 56 miles and 1 x 100miles). These are great challenges. Next year, I am trying to decide whether to stay long or to go back to trying to achieve faster times over shorter (eg. 10k runs, Oly tris etc). I am trying to work out which would be the bigger challenge for me personally.
But, my personal thinking is that Leder's point is relevant. I think there is an argument that if you cant run a <4hr mara then perhaps a shorter distance is more suitable. Hence it might be worth reading what Leder has to say. But that doesn't mean that I would not encourage anyone to take on the incredible challenge of an IM if their personal goal was different.
AS - on the contrary. I fully accept that each person should have their own goals and that we should celebrate the diversity of those goals. I am not an elite athlete by any measure. I compete to (1) have fun and (2) to challenge my own goals.
To run an ultra, I needed to adopt a run/walk stragegy. Others ran the whole distance. Others walked most of it having run to fast to start with. So what? The point is that if the length of the ultra was such that I would need to walk the event, then for ME PERSONALLY, the challenge would not be the correct one. I would select a shorter event simply because there comes a point at which finishing for finishing's sake ceases to have sufficient appeal. But what drives you and anyone else will be different.
But maybe (??) by reading what Leder ACTUALLY says we can each consider our goals in this context and then make our decisions. If the answer is go for it- Great. If the answer is maybe I would be better of running a shorter event/tackling an easier ski run - equally great.
I am simply trying to address the assymetry in the responses to UW original question. No intention of criticising anyone else's goals or acheivements.
Plodding On - to follow on from your quote (which I agree with to an extent), I was a climber in my youth. I was always taught that a good mountaineer was the person who knew when to turn back. So I was impressed by Fiennes decision not to 'finish' his attempt on Everest but to understand his personal limits. In climbing today, this common sense, has been overtaken by a desire to achieve goals that are beyond sensible limits. Witness the sad events on Everest over the past few years.
To take the quote to its logical end- we would also celebrate the Charge of the Light Brigade. Oh, yes we do!
Not sure about the idea that doing a shorter distance and aiming for a faster time actually works for everyone in the world of us back-of-the pack folks. I've trained my socks off and never managed to shave more than 30 mins off my original mara time (I've done half-a-dozen now at least). On the other hand, I can plod round ultras reasonably happily at not much slower than my mara pace.
Doesn't mean that I should necessarily do IM, but it does make me think that going longer not faster is weirdly actually a more achievable challenge for some of us slower peeps, though the sheer number of hours training to cover the rquired distances is so much more than the speedy types!
Candy - if he is (after translating) saying that to 'finish' an IM you must be able to run a 3-4hour marathon, then clearly he is talking rubbish. But let's be sensible here. The evidence is obvious that there is no such criteria/threshold. He has a brain and he knows it as well as the rest of us. So I suggest that he means something different by the term 'finish'. I would like to know exactly what he does mean, that's all.
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