Marathon Milestones – Debating the True Measure of Running Achievement

Sportswomen exercising on stadium. Getting ready to run / workout.

In the world of running, the concept of completing a marathon stands as a symbol of dedication, endurance, and physical prowess. However, the advent of virtual races and fitness-tracking apps has introduced a new layer of complexity to this traditional achievement.

A recent social media post ignited a spirited discussion by challenging the authenticity of a virtual marathon completion.

The Fake Marathon Runner

The original poster (OP) begins by describing himself as an individual who is an ardent runner, deeply immersed in the world of pounding pavements and conquering miles.

OP’s sister-in-law, a relative newcomer to the running scene, had also embraced the sport wholeheartedly and, during a recent encounter with OP, claimed to have run a marathon. Intrigued by the sister-in-law’s claim of completing a marathon, OP anticipated a tale of training, sweat, and determination.

However, the revelation proved to be unexpected. The marathon in question was a virtual event, a digital challenge in which participants gradually accumulate distance over an extended period, culminating in the benchmark marathon distance. While the sister-in-law’s accomplishment could not be denied, OP found himself grappling with a fundamental question:

Does this novel form of marathon participation hold the same weight as the traditional, time-bound endeavor?

OP believed that agreeing with his sister-in-law would have been an injustice to all the real runners who actually achieved the milestone through hard work and dedication.

Straightaway, OP told his sister-in-law that she did not actually run any marathon because, in actuality, a marathon requires one to complete 26.2 miles within 5 to 6 hours. OP’s sister-in-law, however, did not receive this news very well. She was angered by the statement and began to call OP an elitist, a bully, and even more.

OP, despite believing he is right, apologized to his sister-in-law for his statement. However, the sister-in-law is still upset.

While OP’s wife agrees with him, his mother-in-law believes that OP should have let the sister-in-law believe that she actually ran a marathon.

Virtual Marathons and the Quest for Validation

A number of users rallied behind OP, sharing their opinions and viewpoints.

One commenter SDstartingOut drew parallels to daily activity tracking, emphasizing that a string of daily distances does not equate to completing a marathon.

“She didn’t run a marathon. According to apple health, over the past 26 weeks, I’ve averaged 5.1 miles a day. Does that mean I’m walking a marathon every 6 days? Of course not. That’s ridiculous.”

Mmiggs playfully extended this analogy, drawing a humorous comparison to climbing Mount Everest via staircase ascents.

“Saying ‘I ran a marathon’ implies that you completed the whole distance in the same day – not that you did a mile a day on an installment plan. Otherwise, I climb Mount Everest every year on my stairs.”

These viewpoints collectively emphasized the irreplaceable nature of the continuous, time-constrained marathon experience.

Commenter Chaoticsleepy89 stood firmly by OP’s perspective, dismissing the notion of the virtual marathon as a deviation from established norms. The user depicted those who held a contrary view as inhabiting a realm of imagination, detached from established reality.

Thedoctormarvel introduced an intriguing dimension to the discussion by delving into the motivations behind the sister-in-law’s claim. The user contended that the distinction lay not solely in the act itself but in the intention and phrasing. According to this user, framing the virtual accomplishment as a unique tracking endeavor rather than a marathon might have garnered a different reaction.

This viewpoint broadened the discourse to encompass the intricacies of intention and presentation in the digital age.

However, amidst the chorus of support for OP’s stance, dissenting voices emerged.

The commenter FireWaterGold acknowledged the validity of OP’s perspective but critiqued his approach, suggesting that the debate could have been handled more diplomatically. This sentiment underscored the intersection of correctness and effective communication, highlighting the fine balance required in such discussions.

The Verdict

The debate surrounding virtual marathons unfolds as OP questions the legitimacy of his sister-in-law’s virtual marathon claim. Commenters resoundingly echo the sentiment that a true marathon entails completing the distance within a set time frame, dismissing the notion of cumulative efforts as a dilution of the achievement.

The discourse also emphasizes the importance of effective communication, acknowledging that while correctness is pivotal, sensitivity and diplomacy are equally vital.

Ultimately, the consensus leans toward upholding the time-honored integrity of traditional marathons.

What do you think? Let us know in the comments. Do you think the OP from this social media post was wrong?

Featured Image Credit: ArturVerkhovetskiy /

This article was originally published on Ash & Pri.

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Pri Kingston

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