Monday, October 4, 2010

(Wo)Mandatory Disclosure?

Ran my first marathon with one of these babies pinned to my back yesterday. And, much like having a child with red hair, I suddenly noticed how many other runners around me were "of a certain age." Once you experience something firsthand, it becomes much more noticeable around you. Such was the case with my "elder number."

While pinning the number to my singlet, I remembered the year before when a friend refused to i.d. herself by tacking her new age division on her back. It somehow seemed like an extension of finger-pointing...  "Look at me! I'll soon be perimenopausal! Isn't that fantastic?"

I've always thought race officials wanted that info in case there was a medical emergency, but was happy to hear my husband explain it otherwise. Turns out, the numbers are there for something quite different than identifying a weakness or medical vulnerability. We're asked to wear these numbers as a competitive courtesy so we all know who our master's competition is during the race. Maybe help you pick it up a bit when the going gets tough.

So, if you were one of the many people I saw running without your master's division on your back (yep, we know who you are!), reconsider wearing it during your next race. Think it doesn't matter? Wrong! It's time to acknowledge yourself for the athlete you are. Putting in the time and training to participate in that marathon is a big accomplishment. Doing that while raising a family? That makes you a rock star!

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