The Privilege to Run

It’s been almost two years since I started my running journey and I am just now starting to get into the community aspect of it. Ian excited to see my RSS feed full of my Internet friends getting ready for the big New York City Marathon. As I’m reading the news coverage of the marathon and thinking about my virtual friends, one article caught my eye. This article highlights athletes whose stories we don’t hear: a group of low income immigrants who work long, low paying jobs and then train their butts off to run.

Like I said, I’m only starting to get into this running community stuff but this is the first time I’ve seen/heard someone address the race and class wall in road races. I feel like races are one of the few remaining places where I am one of the only minorities around (the healthy-living-bloggers arena is another). On the other hand, I know that at events everyone is so focused on themselves that I don’t feel alienated either. A part of me is now feeling some class guilt. I feel guilty about being in yet another area of society that is largely inaccessible to low income and minorities.

I think the most important quote in the article was how the running group’s organizer said fast white runners get snatched up with sponsorships “while comparatively fast Latinos were left behind.” The article isn’t making any big splash, but I hope some athletic companies see that and give a second thought to who they are sponsoring. Maybe sponsor one less blogger and give the opportunity to a deserving but unknown and underrepresented sub-3 hour runner instead?

I don’t know what else I can do now other than to be humbled and aware. When I feel like I’m dying during a workout and want to quit, I try to think about how privileged I am in that moment. I am so lucky that I am still alive, I have my arms and legs, don’t have a chronic disease, don’t take any daily medications, and I am simply moving. Now I have some more things to add to my lucky list: I am privileged to be able to afford shoes and race fees. I am lucky that I get a full night of sleep and only work 8 or 10 hours a day at a desk job, and I go home to a warm home and a great life partner. The next time I come home and think I’m too tired to train, I will remind myself how good I have it.

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2 thoughts on “The Privilege to Run

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