Ginger With a J’s Response to Salty’s Defense

Do things really have to always be so black and white? Image courtesy of

I probably shouldn’t be arguing with a lawyer! In fact, I’m not going to, for multiple reasons. However, I would like to respond to the recent buzz that was generated here at Salty Running. I knew my post would create such buzz, as I presented a pretty popular debate. However, I didn’t think it would be in such a way that made me out to be a bad guy. I’ve never been the bad guy so this is all new territory!

In my original post, I thought that I was stating that I did not think I ran a marathon back in 2004 but that I would not discount anyone else’s opinion of what it means to run a marathon. Granted, our lead-ins and Salty’s defense were written in a way to create controversy, something the press loves to do! But do you ever click on the title of a news article to find that when you read the whole thing, it’s not what the title suggested? Well, I certainly do not think my post was saying that I think anyone who walks in a marathon isn’t qualified to say they ran one. And I also thought that I clearly stated that I support anyone who is out there chasing a dream. And I ended it saying I would congratulate anyone (congrats Tim!) who attempted and completed a marathon, no matter what the time. When I revealed my real thoughts in my darkest moments, I thought I was being honest with you all about my thoughts in that exact moment, but sadly, my poor writing made it sound condescending.

But I can be condescending! I’m sure you can be too. So when I talk about living in a both/and world, what I mean is that it is ok to feel two or more ways. To anyone I offended, I am sorry but should I be? Should I become the Salty bad guy? I told Salty that I felt I was now made out to be the judgemental elitist of Salty Running…and I’m not even fast enough to be an elitist! I do love Letsrun so maybe this is the perfect role for me.

Should this be my new user icon? Image courtesy of

What do you all think? Was my writing just that bad that my point wasn’t made clear enough? Or was this just a case of media misconstruing to generate buzz? Or did I just come out of the bitch closet? Or, well, could it be all of the above if we’re thinking in both/and terms?

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I write about mindfulness, mental health, and the professional sport of running with the occasional poking fun at the sport. When I am not running, I'm either helping people as a counselor or trying to make them laugh as an amateur open mic comedian.

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  1. First, you’re no bad guy! You’re honest and I respect that about you immensely. You write in a way that sorts out your feelings and I guess it might not have been clear that you were revealing your innermost dark thoughts when you said, “I would also be lying if I didn’t say that I might have felt the need to criticize a 6 hour marathoner in order to validate the 40 miles a week I put in this winter.” I now see that was self-deprecating of yourself, but it did come off as critical of the 6 hour marathoner. Lastly, you are always allowed to have opinions that I or others don’t agree with. I love a healthy debate. Thanks for sharing your ideas and being honest with us! If nothing else, it provided the opportunity to highlight Tim’s achievements and talk about our mud wrestling pit 🙂

  2. Objection! Just kidding. Thank you for posting this, even if it’s a bit redundant. And you are right, if anything, it provided an opportunity to share Tim’s story! I have to go shower now and get all this mud off me 😉

  3. I liked your original post, Ginger, and didn’t really read it as too harsh or critical at all. I like it when things are black and white and I can just pick a side…which is why I’ve stayed out of this debate so far. But what’s great about the back and forth is that it helped me get to a new conclusion.

    See, MY goal was to RUN a marathon the whole way through, no stopping, no walking (to be honest I thought if I stopped or walked I wouldn’t start back up again). And I think that IS the goal most people state: “I want to run a marathon.”

    Before this debate I was inclined to discount the validity of walkers but felt wrong taking that position. Now I’ve figured out that runners come in different packages and that means different goals. Some of us will run a marathon in 6 hours a year after we start running, some of us will run it in 4 three years in and a lot of training, and some of us will train forever, work really really hard and see the faster side of 3:20. It’s a little cheesy but what matters is that your heart’s in it! That’s how you get into the Awesome Club.

  4. Ginger, I’d have to say that your original post did not incinuate any separation between those running 3 hour marathons or 6 hour. Truth be told, it does cross most peoples minds about the loosely put word of “running” a marathon when they see people “finishing” in a time equal to crawling on your hands and knees. You didn’t discount the “slower” finishers; you simply threw out for open discussion what constitutes “running.” I see nothing wrong with your writings. In today’s times, it is easy to see how “completing” a marathon is even sometimes a social outing where it’s effectively an extended walk, versus 30 years ago one wouldn’t even consider toeing the line unless in peak/near peak physical condition. Nothing wrong with either; it’s just a sign of the times mixed with where you came from. Your post suggests open-minded mess. Keep the “controversial” topics going. (You have to expect some bickering on an all-female running website.

    1. Thanks for your comment! I love that we all have different opinions and can share them and discuss them. I think it’s what I love most about the site! I do have one issue with your comment: I don’t think we were bickering by any stretch. I’m not even sure we have that much of a differing opinion. And I don’t know why an “all-female” site where bloggers post opinions would result in more “bickering” than any other site that posts opinions. I would hope anyone would feel free to share their opinion here and know that if any of us disagreed we’d do so respectfully and engage in a dialogue rather than pull some Mean Girls style nonsense.

  5. To be honest, the thing that bothered me most was that you were able to complete a marathon in 4.5 hours with such severe undertraining. It is frustrating that I can spend countless hours training to come to a race prepared and am only able to do 4:42 (and that is with no walking). I’ll readily admit now that marathons are just not my thing.

    Of course, I fall in the camp of I don’t care if it took you 3 or 8 hours to do the race, it counts regardless that you were willing to go the distance. And truth be told, it might be mentally harder to do it in 8, because you are out there way longer and have to have the mental tenacity to keep going even when they start pulling up the race course. That being said, I’m not mad at you for your opinion. We don’t always have to agree.

  6. I admit it. I was hesitant to jump on the train after the original post, being new to the group. And interestingly enough, a post of mine in the rather near future takes a different look at this issue all together, though my post is about the danger of using pejorative words to describe our OWN performances.

    To borrow a few lines from that upcoming post, however, allow me to chime in. I don’t think Jinger’s opinion (whether properly interpreted or misinterpreted) is the real issue. And I don’t think Salty’s opinion is necessarily “right” or “wrong” for the masses (though I happen to agree with it.) At the end of the day, I think there are as many views on what constitutes “running” a marathon, “finishing” a marathon and “doing” a marathon as there are runners. And at the end of the long day, I think (as with so many mainstream cultural debates) the real issue is when we either force – or are interpreted as forcing – our opinions on others. Jinger has one opinion. Salty has another. Mine, you will find later, is somewhere in the middle. But the most important thing is never what someone ELSE thinks, but what you yourself think about yourself. Do YOUR thing with pride, and revel in your own personal journey – whether “running,” “walking,” “finishing” or “doing.”

    And by the way, I’ve done all four. They were equally special in different ways, just as each individual runner is.

  7. Love the feedback and the discussion it created! However, I still feel as if I am being lumped in with the complete opposite of what Salty’s opinion is…and I never said I was on the other side! I guess I am just a bit upset about being viewed as this other side because the comments that were generated on Facebook were quite hurtful and painted a picture of me as some cold hearted, stuffy runner who thinks that 6 hour marathoners shouldn’t be allowed to say they ran a marathon. I did present this other side but I never said I agreed with it. I clearly said I was in the middle of this debate (“I would be lying if I didn’t say that I am in the middle of this debate.”). But enough of debating semantics! I’m looking forward to Clove’s perspective!

    1. Hugs! I hate that feeling too, but all the important people know you are wonderful and that your opinion was not elitist at all! You are just setting your own self standard, nothing more. I am exactly the same way! And I too am not always so fluent in expressing it!