“Only 1 percent of the world will dare to run a marathon.” (Or variation thereof).
OK-you could say the same about a lot of things — only one percent of the world population endured the movie Gummo (look it up). Only one percent of the world population has fixed its own car transmission. Why do we have the population of THE WORLD in this braggadocios equation? It places the curve unfairly and unrealistically in the marathoners’ favor. So we are including babies and elderlies and invalids and the populations of the most poverty stricken countries (yes I realize Kenya and Ethiopia produce some of the world’s best marathon runners, but only a select few make the running club there. The others aren’t too worried about fartleks or maximum heart rate).
But the reason I most hate this quotation is not its unfair manipulation of babies and invalids. No I hate it because it is bragging by way of comparing yourself to others who have no interest in the thing in which you have an interest. Saying that we, by training for and running a marathon, have done something most “will not dare” is about as dumb as some guy bragging to me about winning a hotdog-eating contest. I would be impressed if he just said, “I am one of the world’s best hot dog eaters and here is my medal.” Wow. Cool. But when he throws in the assertion that you, your mom and most of your friends would never dare undertake the training required to be a great hotdog eater — “You would not be able to continue eating one hot dog after another as your stomach stretches and your heart burns. You must train to endure this and you do not have the guts,” I imagine him saying.
Yeah. Then I’d laugh and call him a jerk.
You ran a marathon? You are badass. You do not need some meaningless stat to back it up. So if I hear you say this, and I will hear someone say this very soon because I hear runners say it all the time, I am going to give you hell.