The Boston Marathon is a big deal for runners as it’s the highlight for many people’s careers, and there are two ways to enter. You can either qualify by running a lot and getting good times, or you can “buy your way in” by raising $5,000 for charity. Apparently though, there are a lot of runners who are resentful of that second option, and think that people who don’t qualify for the race shouldn’t be in it. Last year charity runners raised $28.3 million.
Those numbers are, frankly, way too high for some runners to be complaining about it. This is money raised for charity, not for the selfish thrill of being in a fancy race. That may sound harsh, and runners who qualify are certainly impressive, but it’s hard to take their side in a situation where they seem to just want personal glory while others are there to help their communities and support good causes.
Susan Hurley, who founded Charity Teams, which trains runners and does fundraising for races, would like to see an option for qualified runners to support a charity, bringing together the best of both worlds. This is an excellent idea, and frankly surprising that it’s not already been implemented.
It’s unknown how many people would take advantage of such an option that weren’t already running for charity, but it might help reduce some of the resentment if more qualified runners were supporting charities too.
But what would really help is an attitude shift. Just because you’re running for charity doesn’t make the person who qualified on their own any less impressive. And just because the runners around you aren’t qualified doesn’t mean your achievements aren’t still achievements. There’s a self-centeredness at the core of this “me or them” mentality that makes people treat strangers like enemies, or resent people for raising millions of dollars for charity.
What are your thoughts? Should runners have the option to buy their way in marathons? Leave a comment below!