#BostonWeak: How Other People Run Marathons
Picture this: a huge horde of (mostly white) people feverishly running at break-neck speeds at you. If the very thought doesn’t make you shit yourself, you have an iron stomach. Many of these folks wear bright, cheerfully tacky fluorescent colors with matching sneakers, some of which are so new you could eat kale off the bottom. Some are shirtless, their pointed man boobs jabbing the air in front of them (maybe a bleeding nipple or two).
If you’re not scared yet, you should be. Approximately 30,000 people are running towards you. Some of these people are running with shit in their pants, piss dripping down their legs, and God knows what else in their bloodstreams. The scene is the lovely city of Boston, and it is Marathon Monday.
Now, if you don’t give a fuck about Marathon Monday or The Boston Marathon, you’d be in the majority. According to Twitter hashtag-map provider Trendsmap, most of the world also doesn’t give a fuck, and this data is from a mere 10 hour or so period just before the Boston Stampede begins.
Even the rest of the US, especially when you drill down to “real America”, hardly cares.
Even so, this week you will see on corporate or social (read: corporate) media a lot of filtered pictures of shoes and waterbottles, people high-fiving people drenched in their own fluids, and proclamations that contain shit like “Boston Strong”, “We are One”, and maybe “Started From the Bottom”. Rest assured that 99.9% of the world’s population is either watching Netflix, sleeping, or living on less than $1.25 a day.
Why is that?
The truth is that the Boston Marathon -and most other firms of the uniquely Western style of running in public- is an act of privilege. It is a declaration of class quite akin to the ancient royal parades in cities of old, where the nobles would be carried on platforms and shit through the streets, passing by and waving to starving throngs of beggars and craftspeople. Today, not much has changed. The so-called “elites” (read: sporty types with corporate endorsements) run with people who can afford a $175 registration and have the time and funds to train/juice enough to qualify (it’s $225 for the foreigners, and that’s if they’re allowed into the country). The royal guard is replaced by the police. The only thing that has really changed is the throng of people watching: this mob, estimated at $1 million, is probably overfed instead of starving.
The same can be said of people who run in public on a daily basis. They are able to run because they have the benefit of living in the right neighborhood in the right community. No one accosts them as long as they look the right way. That is as pure privilege as the sweat dripping down that person’s butt crack.
Now, some will say, “Like, c’mon. Running is one of the most human things you can do.” “Like, running is an activity basic to both man and beast.” And to that I respond, “yes”. Running is something many humans do, but most humans have to do it when other humans are making their lives extraordinarily difficult. They don’t have a choice in the matter.
Here a few other “marathons” that took place around the world lately.
Notice the piss-poor choices in footwear some people are making. And it’s not limited to just those damn foreigners with their own damn problems. Here in America, you’ve got people who can’t run to the convenience store for some iced tea and Skittles without getting shot.
Running for many of these people (and for most people), is a necessity. They do it because they’re about to be seriously harmed or killed. They don’t do it to pat themselves on the back and twerk.
So check your privilege, Boston. Go do something useful that has actual, positive social impact. Other people are running for their lives and the lives of their family. Your bitch ass is running towards the next water station and praying you don’t split/shit your Lulelemons (sp?). At the very least, run in the gym and stop blocking traffic. Same goes for those of you standing on the sidelines. Stop cheering for meaningless shit and volunteer for those less fortunate or something. And then maybe one day #BostonStrong will be more than just a message New Balance can use to sell sneakers.
*1st Disclaimer: I’m not the comedian/autobiographer Amy Poehler who has, for whatever reason, become a role model for some people.