Supporting Those in Your Community

This week there were two very public events in the running community. 

First, there was the woman who decided to bandit a half marathon, took selfies along the way and threw in some negative commentary as a bonus.

Second, there was a very well known magazine (SELF) that asked for photos of woman wearing tutus and running races.  After gathering photos they used one in particular (a woman running the race while in the midst of having cancer) and showed her very negatively.  They made fun of her.  They said something along the lines of “do tutus make you faster?” SELF magazine knows if they approached this woman differently and said “Hey do you want to post a photo of you wearing a tutu for our BS meter?” they would not have gotten the same response.  (Here is more information)


As a running community we are just that.  A community of people who partake in the same hobby.  Whether we are elite or whether it’s our very first 5k we are all apart of this community.  Last year at Boston, it became apparent how strong and supportive of a community we are.  You don’t need a tragic event to see that though.  Going to a local road race and watching runners support others, watching youth run, watching the elites or the back of the packers you can truly see how supportive the community is.  It is a beautiful thing to watch a road race take place and the amount of effort, support and love that flows from every angle.

Running road races are expensive, I get that.  I get that no one wants to pay for a race but wants a time and a medal.  There is just something magical about finishing a 5k road race versus running 3.1 miles on your own time.  There are many runners who bandit a race. I can almost guarentee you that at every race there is someone who decides to bandit.

What if every runner started banditing races?  They refused to pay and then just ran?  They took a medal, utalized resources and ran these races.  Then races would not exist.  Without generating revenue they wouldn’t exist.  If you are going to take from the community, then you must give back.  You cannot take and not give back. Unless you ran the exact race course and took nothing (no water, no medals, no anything) then you are banditing the race and not running for free.

We are a community helping each other out.  The police are helping protect you during the race.  The race director isn’t trying to make the biggest profit and skyrocketing the price, they are trying to pay what each person accordingly.  They are heping you and they are helping those involved.  My point is together we are a community.  We are in a relationship together and you are taking more than you are giving when you bandit a community.  You are hurting the community.

The second part of this post comes from the SELF article.  We as woman are also a community.  We are a community that overlaps with running as well as millions of other communities.  Together we stand strong and help each other out.  We should be proud of each others accomplishments (whether it’s running related or not).

What bothered me the most from this article was the overall judgement of someone for what they were wearing to a marathon!

This woman was running a marathon and they were judging her for what she was wearing.

I wish I coud say I haven’t heard of people doing that at race (What is x wearing?  ect) but I have.  Maybe I’ve even been an offender of this statement but this article made me realize it shouldn’t matter.  If someone wants to race in a tutu good for them.  If someone wants to race in designer Gucci…good for them.  They are still racing.  They are still participating in the same race and doing the same thing I am. They are still in the same community.

My main point of the post is this.  Together we are a community and we stand strong.  We are brought together becvause we all love the sport of running, whether it’s a 4 minute miles or a 20 minute mile.  Whether we are streaking or wearing a full body suit.  There are millions of communities in the world and the running community is just one of them.

If you can’t support those in your own personal community…who can you support?  

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  1. Well said! I’m not sure about the motivation of the woman with the selfies, but the magazine ‘s motivation is to sell copies, and unfortunately, many of them do it through generating controversy.

  2. This is a great post. That Self magazine debacle eas so uncalled for- I will never buy their magazine now. (Not that I ever did before). Who cares what someone wears?

    I’m not a fast runner, but I’m getting better. What I love is the energy of a race, and how I feel just as important at that race as those that run 6-7min miles. The running community loves everyone, and that is one of my favorite parts of running.

    The running community will stick by this woman in the tutu, I have no doubt. And Self magazine should be ashamed.

  3. Great write up Hollie, so very true. Both of those issues were offensive to most runners. The bandit part is definitely true, its not right, and I see she is getting attacked for it on her blog, so I guess she is getting what she deserved. And yes, also appalled by a supposed fitness magazine….they are gonna be in deep trouble!

    Last year some of my athletes jumped in the rock and roll philly half, and went through the finish line to get medals, I yelled at them so much. I was so angry with them! But I dont think they will again!

  4. Well said.

    I didn’t read that magazine before and won’t start. I’m glad Self apologized but it is too little too late I think. The magazines comments were wrong, judgmental, and uncalled for, but it makes me think of my own attitude and the attitude of others. Self magazine isn’t the only one judging runners on what they wear, what they look like, etc- women are catty and the social media/blogging community can be as well. Words in print or words online can hurt, and while childhood bullying/cyber bullying gets lots of attention in the media, kids imitate what they see adults do… and adults can “bully” just as bad. Those ladies in the picture will remember this and despite the apology, I don’t think they’ll just “get over it”, you know?

    All of us run and train hard, whether it’s a 6 minute mile or a 16 minute mile… if you are out there hitting the pavement on a regular basis and doing your best, you’re a runner. There is a reason why we strive for “personal” bests, too :).

  5. Well said. It just shows how supportive the running community can be for one another. The SELF magazine BS Meter was disappointing. It shouldn’t be about what you’re wearing while running. It should be about the fact that you’re running!

  6. I so totally agree with you here – I think Self magazine was way off base because they felt the need to criticize what someone was wearing. I thought they were a magazine that focused on building women up, nit tearing then down, and they went about it in a way that was completely dishonest too and did it to a woman who should amazing resolve and desire. To me, it’s a big black mark. Support is huge, and the running community is the best at it.

  7. Amen! You are exactly right. Well said. I was really disgusted and disappointed with what Self did. Even if she wasn’t a cancer survivor or raising money for an organization it still was wrong. They did it very maliciously and very sneaky and they got bit in the ass for it. They have lost lots of readers because of it.

  8. I cannot believe that Self story – that is one of the most horrible things I’ve seen awhile 🙁

  9. I agree with you, I cant believe Self put that on their magazine, not that I personally wear/like tutus, but I don’t care what others wear. Then a magazine trying to tell us what we should and shouldn’t wear, is unfortunately not a new thing.
    As for banditing a race, I can understand someone running on a race route if thats their regular route and don’t want to change it because theres a race taking place, but without using anything from the race (water, food, etc). Otherwise big NO.

  10. Very well said! The focus should have been on what she was doing, not on what she was wearing. I don’t always understand people’s clothing choices during a race…but they wear what works for THEM. Some people look amazing and RUN amazing in a tutu. I don’t think either of those would be true of me, but I love seeing those that do! Running is supposed to be fun, and I can think of no other way to have fun than wearing something you love.

  11. I am not supportive of anybody who wears all white for a triathlon, because that shit is see-through after the swim and then I see lots of man-hairy-butt-cracks on the bike leg.

    Otherwise, wear whatever.

  12. I love this, Hollie! As runners and as women we really need to support one another and not tear one another down.
    I was even bothered by the quasi apology by SELF because it gave the implication that if Monika didn’t have cancer, then the mocking would have been okay. Ugh.

  13. I was very disappointed to hear about the SELF article. We all run for many different reasons and have different things that motivate us. Wear whatever makes you feel happy (or comfortable, or strong, or whatever). It also bothers me when people make fun of someone for working out with makeup on, or using a hydration belt for a run that “isn’t long enough” to need it. Do whatever works for you!

  14. I am in disbelief at the self article! I read that magazine and that’s just unbelievable. Who the hell cares what you’re wearing while you’re running?! You’re moving your body for a greater good. People could run naked for all I care. And she has brain cancer?! And on chemo?! Way stronger than I will EVER be.

  15. Well said. I have never had any desire to bandit any race and don’t understand those that do. Using resources that other people paid for is stealing.

  16. I saw you post this on fb, I couldn’t believe it! didn’t realize it was fashion show haha. I have seen a lot of people with tutus, I think it is cute

  17. Love the running community! Monika is a friend of mine and I was so glad and stood up for herself and made it known that its not cool to diss people for what they wear doing anything that makes them happy!

  18. Thank you for this post – it’s good to see someone standing by the running community. I agree with you, and love how supportive runners are of each other. When I ran my first race, I didn’t really have plans to run another, but other runners were so kind and supportive it motivated me to do more. And while I have so much respect and am in awe of the athletic abilities of elite runners, I love how road races are fun and accessible to people of all fitness levels, and are getting more people of the couch and doing something active and healthy for themselves.

  19. Great post and great message, Hollie. When communities come together, it really shows that there is more to the niche (e.g. running, lifting, cooking)- often more enjoyable or embraced than the actual hobby. (IF that makes sense…)

  20. I totally agree. Bandits make me very angry! I’m curious how it’s going to go in Boston this year, they are known to allow bandits on the course in previous years, but this year, they have a no tolerance rule.
    Also, Self magazine doesn’t even deserve to be talked about, major asshats.

  21. We talked a lot about the SELF issue at work. Personally, I haven’t picked up one of those magazines in a while, and after the tutu fiasco, I have absolutely zero desire to support that type of publication.

  22. Love this! I work at a running speciality store and it’s amazing some of the deragatory things/actions recreational runners have to deal with…during a couch-to-5k program that I coach a beginner runner got called a horrible name and then was attempted to be shot with a paintball (those suckers missed), luckily the woman was strong minded enough to laugh it off and go on to accomplish her goal. Everyone runs for different reasons, but at the heart of it is passion – no one has the right to try to rob that away.

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