Out of the 37,000 duffers that will pollute the streets of our fair city this Sunday - November 7th - maybe 500 are athletes. The elite runners are something to watch. They are so lean they look almost alien. Them I admire. They are in an actual race. It is the 36,500 other fools that annoy me every year. -C.J. Sullivan quoted in a Huffington Post article by Dave Hollendar Are New York Marathoners Athletes?
Turns out Sullivan was just getting warmed up. He goes on to say this: "Marathons are the last refuge for those that couldn't cut it in other sports. Any knucklehead in decent shape can train and then run 26 miles in under 4 or 5 hours. It means you are in shape. It does not make you an athlete."
" And then you hear that if you finish - no matter what - you are a winner. Well that is just plain wrong. You lost by hours, sluggard. No one cares that you finished two hours behind the lead pack. You are not a winner. Just a real slow runner."
For the record, in 2009 at New York Joshua Hunsberger took 500th place in 2:53:05. The rest, according to Sullivan's definition, are not athletes.