Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Great Expectations

Watching the women's marathon on televsion leaves a lot be desired. I understand that NBC is trying to weave a story, but come on.

Deena Kastor, bronze medalist at the Athens marathon dropped out at the 5K mark. That should have garnered more attention, but it was hardly mentioned.

So many commercial breaks, cutting away to other events were very distracting. At one point Paula Radcliffe(Women's world record holder) is in the lead pack of runners and then she is gone from the telecast. Finally we are told at some point she stopped to go to the bathroom and then stopped again to stretch.

After the medals have been decided NBC cuts back to watch Paula finish the race. Interestingly, Paula has won every marathon she has run except for the Athens marathon. There she was featured at the side of the rode, in tears as she dropped out of the marathon.

Paula was absolutely ripped mercilessly by the British tabloids and the talking heads. Hey, put down your laptops and microphones and lace up your shoes. The marathon is never easy, not even for the most elite athletes.

It was painful to watch Paula run. It was obvious this is a race she should have not even tried to run, let alone finish it.

Kudos to Paula for finishing the race. So many times you see the elite runners call it a day as soon as they realize they can't win the race. Paula hung in there, finished what she had started.

I hope the press never again utters an ignorant, unkind comment about her courage. To be expected to win, realize that is not going to be your day and continue on. That takes tremendous courage and Paula has the added weight on her shoulders of running for her country.

This is one of my favorite running quotes, but it applies to any challenge we face.
"Finishing is winning"-George Sheehan.

Paula, you are a winner. I was very proud of her.

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