Saturday, January 17, 2009

Awful Media Coverage of Running

By now you have undoubtedly heard about Geb's attempt to break his own world Marathon record. If not, please read no further.

Geb did not break his own world record yesterday, claiming rain hindered him (it rains in Dubai?!) from doing so. But I am not here to talk about that. I am here to talk about abysmal reporting which goes on about running in the United States. I mean, not only did I need to look below Shirts and Skins Speed Typing results to even FIND this report on but within one paragraph I am already shaking my head and wondering "Does anyone who writes about running have the foggiest CLUE abut the sport?"

An excerpt:

"Gebrselassie finished in 2 hours, 5 minutes and 29 seconds -- just 90 seconds off his record -- to narrowly beat compatriots Deressa Edae Chimsa (2:07.54) and Wendimu Tsige (2:08.41). "

Winning by 2.5 minutes is narrowly beating someone? A 2:05:29 is a 4:47 pace (friggin unfathomable to me) which means winning by 2:25 Geb was HALF A FLIPPIN MILE in front of his "compatriots". I think we would all like to narrow win a marathon by that distance someday.

I had high hopes for US media after the Olympics. I thought "This is the year when they really, finally stat to pay attention to road racing and track and field." I, of course, think that after every major happening in running: Ryan Hall's emergence; Geb's world record last year; Wanjiru's butt-whooping at the Olympics. And every time I get disappointed.

I am not asking for the AP to know Emil Zatopek's middle name or be able to immediately break down what someone's half-marathon split time may be at the 10k. But isn't a basic knowledge of the sport necessary to report on it? (Obviously not). I mean, if the Ravens beat the Steelers tonight by 14 points, will anyone call it a narrow victory?

Get it right, media. Make, at bare minimum, an effort for the love of God. Or hire someone who will.


Anonymous said...

I train at the Gold's gyms in Dallas for marathons do you have any advice?

Jennifer McCreath said...

it's sad that marathonning gets practically no press anywhere. and as you cited, the few who do write about it know nothing about the sport.

even in eastern canada (newfoundland) where running is quite popular, the media could care a less about my rare feat of running 2 marathons in 2 days in 2 countries (akron and toronto in sept/08)

let's see if they care when i run 3 marathons in 2 countries in 8 days in 3 gender categories this april (i am a transgendered runner and different jurisdictions have different ideas of how to classify me!)

anyway, you've got a great blog. keep up the great writing and great running! and congrats on setting up titusville..