There are two types of runners that enter these types of events. Those who have trained, have a known capability, a confidence to perform and set goals and strategies and the other type.
The type that hopes and prays and is full of apprehension and anxiety and is filled with disbelief and often repeats ‘I should have done more’. The sudden realisation that the three attempts to walk 10k doesn’t quite represent running 10k.
These two types of athletes are incredibly visible at the start of the race and utterly discernible by their complete different approach to the event.
‘The runner’ can be seen stretching, limbering up, getting up to pace and noting how they feel going through a pre-run routine in order to maximise performance, noting hydration and warming up the relevant muscles.
‘The jogger’ can be seen watching the preparation of the runners and conserving every ounce of energy which will be required to get around the course. There will be more banter in this group of athletes. They won’t be first to the start line, they won’t be punching data in to gadgets, they won’t have selected their ‘run tunes’ on iPods, they will be looking around searching out another victim, someone they think they can beat, they will be looking for inspiration………..but unfortunately none will come.
The runner is looking for the start line with anticipation, the jogger with in trepidation. The runner will be thinking how fast he/she can complete the run, how to improve technique and what to focus on, the jogger, how far can he go before its acceptable to walk! But here’s the rub, both sets of competitor are in the same race.
To the expectant crowd, they are unaware of your capability, you wear a number, you’re in the race and their expectation and perception is the same of all the competitors.
Slowly and surely it begins, their human centipede snaking its way around the course. Its all ok in the beginning the sheer mass and nervous energy means it’s hard to distinguish between competitors, their poor performance thinly disguised by the basic starting procedure and hidden by the initial flurry of activity.
All are equipped with the means, running kit, jogging feet and bodies generally all round in the same direction but slowly and surely gaps begin to appear, quality style and capability takes over. The runners, those that actually possess the skill start to deliver, become very visible and are supported by the watching crowd.
Now the jogger, the excuses to hand, ‘I should have done more, I didn’t have enough time, I didn’t realise how tough it would be, I’ve never run before’.
But where expectation isn’t directly affected by the watching crowd, our British psyche allows us to support encourage and sympathise with the lesser player as it’s all about the taking part, where physical effort, pain and limited performance is accepted at this level of sport, but how the world changes when it comes to the business. Knowledge, expertise and performance are a prerequisite, the outcome already expected, there is no gamble, so why is it that ‘the jogger is still allowed to participate’ only to disappoint at the end of the process.
In a world where everyone believes there is juice to be squeezed out of a dried orange, there comes a time when all you are left with are pips!
If you are looking for a fair race, with expected outcomes, by trained organisations, check your entry list first. Take time to look at their pedigree and see what they have achieved before. Look past the hype and entry number and question actual capability, as not all competitors are the same beneath the surface and glossy exterior. New trainers doesn’t equal experienced competitor. So for all these officials out there looking to organise their own races please check out the credential before inviting them to compete, as lack of preparation always leads to a poor outcome.