Even intelligent people can do barbarous things in the name of an ideology if they believe strongly enough in the long-term goodness of what they're doing. And a descent into barbarism doesn't take long in the right conditions - all sides in both world wars committed atrocities to some degree. On a slightly related note, the other day I watched a film called Compliance, based on a real story. Some of you will have heard of it: a prankster in the US calls a fast-food restaurant (in real life it was a McDonald's) pretending to be a policeman. He convinces the female manager that a young woman serving customers has stolen from one of them. She is persuaded to take the woman into a back room, make her strip and search her. The whole thing develops into pretty serious sexual assault. Read about the real-life case here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Strip_search_phone_call_scam
I know someone who helps at the expo every year. Sometimes, apparently, returned numbers don't get incincerated and find their way on to the chests of people who aren't registered to run... they take a very very dim view of it, I hear, and will ban people for a long time. Not that you were planning to do this, of course - just an intersting side thingy.
I"m not at all surprised. I stood at mile 25 of the London Marathon one year and, though the elite all went through without stopping, I was surprised by how many very good runners - I would unscientifically quantify this as those running between 2:30 and 3hrs - would stop around there for a bit of a breather and a stretch: not all, by any means, but more than I'd imagined would do. I think the truth is that most people running a marathon are attempting to run to their limits, and sometimes they go a bit over them a bit early. Only a few collapse like this though!
I think these guys are right. You're doing the same thing every time, sometimes slower, sometimes faster. And that's what you'll keep doing unless you vary your routine. Quite apart from anything else, isn't it boring to just go out and run 5k every time? Take their advice and structure it a bit better. It doesn't have to be really hard, just appropriate.