I never thought anything football related would ever make it onto this blog BUT I had a good old read of this article on the BBC site which was inspired by the Luis Suarez biting incident at the World Cup (as an aside can I just say that human bites are really disgusting. Ick.). In the BBC article a former footballer describes what he believes to be the ‘Deadliest Sins’ in football: career ending tackles, elbowing, spitting, racism. It then got me thinking, what are the deadly sins of the sport of running and athletics?
Ask any running/athletics fan and I think they would say doping is THE cardinal sin. It cheats other competitors and it makes a joke of the sport. Sadly doping doesn’t seem to be going away and the IAAF list is growing and growing, with the addition this week of Ukranian and Trinidad and Tobago athletes. Is it me or are they really not on top of it? Especially when you’re banning people for only 9 months at a time. Hey that’s 9 months free you’ve given them to dope some more!
I hate doping. It sucketh big time. Ask any running/athletics fan what they really despise in the sport and they will always say doping. It is arguably the BIGGEST sin in running.
Punching/Elbowing your competitor
It’s fair to say that it is fairly common at the start of a cross country or road race that many people stick their elbows out. It’s a do or die situation, stick your elbows out or get pushed back or maybe have your number ripped off. It’s fair enough but what is a tad unseemly is to punch a competitor or push them. I was pushed off a course once, it makes you angry but the best way to channel that is to run faster and beat them. Punching someone in the back because they’re Haile Gebrselessie and your nearest rival? That just makes you look foolish, especially when you end up pushing him over the line in first place.
I haven’t seen many fights at running or athletics events. I have seen people get a bit heated with officials. Denise Lewis stood her ground, and rightly so, at the Sydney 2000 Olympics at the long jump event of the heptathlon. Coming to blows with someone at the end of your race? It’s not big and it’s not clever. Fighting with your team mate on the track in full view of the crowd? You’ve really not done yourself any favours. We’re runners, we’re meant to be lovers not fighters!
Running and athletics are sports that I like to think of as giving everyone an equal opportunity. They are totally inclusive which is how it should always be. No matter who you are or what you believe in it all gets left behind the start line or in the changing rooms. As competitors everyone starts equally. Which is way I was a bit disappointed by the views aired by a certain champion pole vaulter. And then having the cheek to try and back track the next day. There is no room in running and athletics for that. Fortunately at amateur level I haven’t encountered anything like this.
I have been the victim of cheating in the past and it really sticks in the throat. It’s horrible to discover that someone had the nerve to cut a course short to win. And I have heard so many cheating stories this year. There was this story from the London Marathon this year and in Boston we had the bib faking story. There will always be cheats I guess but if you’re going to do it maybe make it believable. The guy from London would have us believe that he could run 13 miles and THEN run a world leading time for a half marathon. Dude had way too many energy gels! And that is what makes us hate a cheater, their lack of respect for the rest of us and because they basically think we’re all stupid enough to believe their excuses (see also Dopers).
I have been spiked during a cross country race but I don’t think it was intentional. I do know of other team mates who had other runners run so close to their heels that they ended up getting nasty spike injuries. That’s really not cool. Those spikes could easily be a deadly weapon in the wrong hands!
Here endeth my lesson on what I believe are some of the deadly sins of running and athletics. Can you think of any more awful running transgressions? Have you got a tale of a sinful fellow runner? Or….have you got your own confession to make?