Syrupy, sticky, sugary, confectioned, dulcified, cloying sweetness.  Teeth rotting, bellyache inducing, glucose, sucrose, fructose.

I could be talking about that bag of treats the kiddos will be toting around tonight.  But not.

This topic arose last night amongst some long time Omaha area runners, while quaffing a brew at the Upstream, and had nothing to do with trick or treating.  No such impish pranking or haunting or devilish behaviour involved at all in fact.

Observations and discussions about the current state of affairs.   A veritable kumbaya celebration for anyone and everyone that puts one foot in front of the other.  No distinctions, lines blurred, we’re all the same, first to last, but mostly last because those that are first don’t and can’t understand running’s Real Meaning because competitiveness sullies the true spirit of running.  That 1% that are always In It To Win It.  No room for Killer Instinct, that only disrupts the dominant social aspect that seems to be the order of the day.

Again, these comments coming from long time runners, those that were around for the original running boom.  When the real measure of a runner was to compete not merely complete.  When you were only as good as your last race.  And that judgement coming from the clock and within, not from the masses with rose colored glasses.  Old timers with a different view than the current rage.  I was intrigued to say the least.

As one that has tried to bridge the gap between the stellar and the cellar I have my own opinions.  I’m not as hard lined, I do enjoy that our sport is accessible to everyone.  I do celebrate anyone and everyone that makes the choice to get out and run, for whatever reason.  Whether to win or complete and maybe never compete.

But that is where my opinion gets a little complicated.  Even those that are completers are still competers in my book.  No one has ever gone to a run/race with the intention of giving their absolute worst.  No one has ever gone to a race/run hoping to go slower than their previous effort.  Everyone is delighted when the set a new personal best.  Everyone is exhilarated to feel like they have given it their very best.  Matters not where you finish in the results, I hold these truths to be self evident.    That is what bridges us all in this sport that we love.

So yes, let’s embrace the entire running community for it is a part of each of us.  But let’s also not forget that just because someone wants to crush their opponent when the gun goes off, they too are still motivated by the same drive that gets all of us out the door.   Shares the same love of running,  derives their own pleasure in their own measure, and too, is just another one of us after all.

Can you imagine a diet without the savory, the sour, the salty, the umami?  Not at all a palatable option to me.