Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Revisiting Edward 'Ted' McClelland

I did a few posts way back in early November on Salon writer Edward McClelland, who wrote the "How Oprah ruined the marathon."

No need to really rehash the back and forth, but the long story short is he ended up -- intentionally or not -- insulting a lot of runners. In the end of his article, he wrote this:

If the marathon is populist enough for everyone to pin on a number, it's also populist enough for everyone to kick ass. If you're running the New York City Marathon this weekend, remember, it's a race. True, no matter how hard you push, you're not going to win a gold medal. But maybe a kid in high school will, someday. If the pack can drag the best runners back, we can push them forward, too.

I'm ready to do my part. My bum knee just carried me through a half-marathon. Next spring, I'm going the full distance -- and I'm going to do it in the spirit of the first running boom, in under three and a half hours. I may even wear a cotton T-shirt and a sweatband.
To which I wrote in my post:

Running is a very public event. You're out there. And you've just pledged to us (after slamming marathoning in general) that you'll knock 45 minutes off your marathon time? Please respect the distance, because your article showed you have a little relearning to do before you join the masses well in the middle of the pack on race day. Look around, and shake your head at the rest of us. Because we won't really notice you're there. We're there to run our own race. And use some Body Glide or Vaseline for goodness sake if you're going to wear a cotton T-shirt

I bring all of this up because some people search his name, and come upon my blog. Well, I did a bit of searching myself. Ted's been training and true to his word, he's signed up for a marathon, the Rockford Marathon. This Sunday in fact. confirmation list:

McClelland, Ted 41 M Chicago Illinois United States Marathon

Give him kudos for being true to his word, but would we expect any less? Good luck Ted, hope you remember the respect for the distance and if you trained well, maybe a 45-minute PB is in the cards.


Sonia said...

Sorry about NYC! Its a tough one to get in. I had my doubts that you registered for MCM haha

Keep us posted on this guy's marathon time, I'm very curious... I know he apologized but he is still and a-hole in my mindé....

Anonymous said...

Well, my friend, I'll save you another Internet search. I ran 3:52. Not as fast as I'd hoped, or promised, but it was a hilly, windy course (the winning time was 2:45) and frankly, I ran a little conservatively, to avoid a repeat of the meltdown in my first marathon. I went to the line thinking I could do 3:40. With some experience at the distance, I think I'll feel more confident about pushing myself next time.

On the plus side, my 41-year-old self beat my 29-year-old self by 24 minutes -- on a tougher course -- and I never stopped to walk, so I feel I competed honorably. This really was the first marathon I've "run," since I had to walk in 1996. Also, as opposed to last time, I'm eager to run another, and set another PR. I'm already looking at the Detroit Free Press International Marathon in October. (Detroit is a flat city, like Chicago.) Considering I couldn't run more than 3 miles at a time from 1998 to 2001, I was amazed to be out there. I guess time heals all knees.

One thing I'm not going to do is write an article about it! One of the worst articles I've ever written, and it got the most attention. I was asked to appear on NPR's Talk of the Nation to discuss marathoning, and I said, "Uh, I'd rather not revisit that topic." I've written a lot of articles for Salon since then, and fortunately, no one has mentioned it.

If I hadn't written that article, though, I wouldn't have challenged myself to run the Rockford Marathon. The months of training, and this morning's race, were a wonderful journey.


"Let us run with perseverance the race set out for us." -- Hebrews 12:1.

yumke said...

Thanks for writing, Ted. I'm glad to see you've got bitten by the marathoning bug again.

I think as you know runners while being defensive of our sport, we're also supportive of all who embrace it. So welcome back. And as for journalistic regret, I can identify...