“It’s bullshit” my husband says. He has a way of expressing himself.
I am telling him about a point of view I am thinking of writing about. He agrees with me and he was a professional athlete himself. So maybe I am right in my train of thought? Or maybe not. Should a professional athlete enter a local sportif or race, win (easily as it usually happens) and then stand on the podium?
I am competitive but I also know where I can work harder and which events I enter where I will not stand a chance, so I am in no way a poor loser, just to get that clear. I like a challenge.
Last year a series of local running races were organised in my area of Catalunya. It has been cleverly designed to get people out and about, you can run or enter to walk either the same route or a slightly shorter one designed just for the walkers. The organisers are generous, they hand out prizes for overall classification and age groups.
The last race in this particular series a professional triathlete entered. Like lightening she left us all for dust and won the race in some blisteringly fast time. Of course she did. Yes, there were some good club runners that turned up but at the end of the day, that is what they are, good runners that fit in their running around daily family life and work. They are not professionals. So you would expect this professional to win. She takes the metal home and that is done. So why did she turn up? Was it a training run? In which case shouldn’t she run through the tape, be content, but then say to the organisers that she was just using it as a training/speed day and will happily forego taking the trophy.
Do I sound bitter? I am not trying to be a killjoy here, I am just trying to understand it. For us normal people who love to challenge ourselves and set goals to train for, it is fascinating to compare yourself to people who are talented enough to do it as a job and who are usually just built differently to us.
My husband once used a cycling sportif as a training day with another pro rider. They had a great time, beautifully organised event, closed roads and lots of other riders around. But they pulled up and made sure they crossed the line after podium was established. They used it to train not win, which together they could have done with no problem.
So, to those professionals out there, let others have their moment of glory at the races we enter. Whether it be a little local one or a bigger sportif with thousands entering. We have all worked hard to get there, it is a challenge, a goal we have set our sights on. You are living what we can only dream of.