The Rich and Famous Poser Exemption

2 April 2008

Run Myrtle, then we\'ll talk.
Photo courtesy of Loren kahle

So, is Katie running Boston or what? Unless we’re in for an April surprise, it appears not. For a while, I wondered if she intended to run every marathon I’ve entered. Just who is stalking whom?

Well, I’m pretty sure she hasn’t qualified. Her 5:29 marathon in New York would only suffice if she were eighty. Tom is one weird dude, but I don’t think he’s making babies with an octogenarian. If she’s interested, Katie will have to run Boston under other auspices.

People run Boston without qualifying, either through sponsorship or by supporting charity. Both options are legitimate, even fabulous. But somehow I find callow celebrity participation irksome. Am I simply jealous? Maybe. I’m certainly not surprised that the wealthy and illustrious get preferential treatment.

Let’s assume celebrities give regularly to charity (though I’m not sure Scientology counts). It’s unlikely that they need to give further via marathoning. And they almost certainly don’t require a corporate exemption. Stars run races like New York and Boston because these races are, well, New York and Boston. Luminaries participate because they can.

But Joe Six-Pack can’t enter these races on a whim. New York features a lottery system, and Boston’s standards have become legend. Jumping directly to the exclusive, high profile marathons smacks of privilege and entitlement; not something that would play well with the tabloid set.

One must take Hollywood gossip with a rather enormous grain of salt. Katie may never have intended to run Boston. But it’s just as likely that she backed off because of potentially caustic publicity. If so, score one for the purists, or at least the grocery store check-out straw poll.

I’d accept celebrity participation in Boston more readily if these folks first paid their dues running plebeian marathons like New Jersey or Myrtle Beach (regardless of finishing time). I just want them to take running seriously. Run a half marathon, local 5k, family fun run or something. Throw the running gods a bone.

Thankfully, some stars get it. Will Farrell proved himself by working down to a sub-four hour marathon. He treated our sport respectfully, and purged his engrams with sweat. That’s worth a few more movie tickets in my book.

I swear, if I read in The Enquirer that Brittney is running Boston, I’ll blow a gasket.

- Dean

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