Over the last week I have been unable to avoid the constant social media posts about applying for your London Marathon 'Good For Age' place. 'Are you Good For Age?' it asks. Well no, according to London Marathon guidelines I am not. This led me to thinking a bit more into the 'Good For Age' branding of runners...
When I ran my first marathon I was 23. I was juggling marathon training, fundraising for a £2k charity place, a full time job, a full time masters degree, learning to drive, and various voluntary commitments. I was stepping up from being a 10k runner to a 26.2 mile runner. I was learning with each training week, resisting things most 23 year olds wouldn't event think about, and pushing myself hard. My point is, at 23 when I ran the London Marathon in 4:09:32, I feel this was 'good', not just for my numerical age, but for the point I was in my life.
That is just my example. There will be other runners out there who I am sure have ran marathons under many adverse circumstances, from a variety of backgrounds, and with numerous lifestyle factors going on. They will have recorded times they are (rightly) proud of, but times which are not actually classed as 'good' simply according to the year they were born. Then there is of course the physiological differences between everyone; no 30 year old is physically the same - so what's to say they should all run the same time?
I can see how the system works in certain cases, as some runners will train hard and push the boundaries of their body at a certain age and this is admirable. But should a birthday and a numeric clock time really be correlated? Should it be able to class you as 'good' or essentially 'not good'?
I am striving to run a 'Good For Age' marathon time simply so I can run the London Marathon again; the ballot chances are getting increasingly ridiculous and I have completed the race for charity before, which although rewarding, is stressful meeting fundraising targets. But really shouldn't I just be running to my own 'good' targets?
I know my Manchester Marathon time this year was not 'good' for me - it wasn't what I trained to do, and was not what deep down I know I could have been capable of. We know our own lives, our own limitations, and our own possibilities - so I feel slightly sad that a mass participation event such as the London Marathon should get to classify us. According to the London Marathon for a (now) 24 year old female, I am not a 'good' runner. But as a 24 year old female I am proud of what I have achieved - which surely matters more.
Alice's Adventures In Running Land
Read about my adventures in running land...