I ran 21.1 km. Did I run a half marathon?

Recently, I posted this question on Facebook to see what others think of this “sensitive” topic. Specially those who are into the habit of running the distance and then proudly announcing the same on various social media forums. Interestingly, and quite unexpectedly, I got a real mix of responses, both for and against.

My view on this is very straightforward, or so I would like to believe. A lot of people say it depends on the situation, or the effort, etc, etc, basically, that the answer is not cast in stone. That I totally cannot believe, it has to be either a yes or no. I simply believe that if you run an organized half marathon race, an event, then you ran a half marathon. Otherwise, what you have really run is just 21.1 km, or to put it in other words, you ran the “half marathon distance”.

To check my views against an established audience of runners (not that my running circle on Facebook is considered any less established), I posted this on letsrun.com running board, the largest and most popular running forum in the world. Folks on letsrun.com had a more one-sided view of this, almost everyone suggesting that just self managed training runs do not count as half marathons.

Posting on letsrun.com has some side benefits. You always see some snarky and some really funny answers, the audience certainly has a great sense of humor. So, for your extended reading pleasure, I am taking the liberty to pick out some gems for you and posting them here. Enjoy ๐Ÿ™‚

  • Yes, this counts as a legit half-marathon, and as such comes with responsibilities. You now must display a 13.1 oval decal on the back of your car.
  • After work, I ride my bike home, then run it into the garage and immediately hop into a shower. Does that count as a tri, or am I tri-ing too hard?
  • It’s the year 2061. You sneak into the pharmacy area of your old folks home and pop a few dozen viagra. You wheel the first blue haired lady you can find in to your room and do the deed. Turns out it was 91 year old Cindy Crawford. Did you just nail a supermodel? No. No you did not.
  • I have run 1 half marathon and 2 full marathons. I am going to start telling people that I have run 5 half marathons.
  • No, you didn’t. A half marathon is exactly 21097 meters in miles this is: 13.109068 miles. So if you stopped at exactly 13.1 miles, and we assume your method of measurement is accurate, then no…..no you didn’t run a half-marathon. aint it a-shame, to be shot down in flames!
  • and finally, a more logical one: Running “A half marathon” is running in an organized event, on a certified course, with official timers and other runners on the course at the same time, and you get an official place.
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