This week I signed up to run the Flying Pig Marathon‘s half-marathon. A year ago, 13.1 miles was about 13 miles more than I could probably run. But after dropping more than 25 pounds, my old-man, arthritic knees don’t sound like Rice Krispies (“snap, crackle, pop!”) as much as they used to. I’ll never be mistaken for The Flash, but I should be able to handle a half-marathon at my glacial pace.
The marketer in me wishes there were another, better name for a half-marathon. Having the word “half” in it diminishes the significance of the event. It makes it seem half-hearted, or half-assed. Some folks say “second place is just another name for first loser.” To them, having a “13.1” sticker on your car is like saying “I quit halfway through!” or “When the going got tough, I hopped on the shuttle bus!”
Now I understand that Pheidippides didn’t run halfway from the Battle of Marathon to Athens and then say “I’ll just stop here, I’m starting to get some blisters on my feet. Everyone can read about the big victory in tomorrow’s papyrus.” But still, 13.1 miles is a looong way to run for mere mortals. From here on out, all half-marathons should be renamed as 21K races. Or better yet, a 23,056-yard dash.