A Word About Primadonna Attitudes and Runners
Posted by scott on September 16, 2009
I’m sorry to say that an otherwise great time at Lutsen ended on a sour note right as we were leaving, when my wife encountered a runner with a Primadonna attitude. The runner was complaining about the poor course markings going to the finish area where it dips down behind the condos. She was complaining that they should have had someone posted there directing runners. She instead ran past all that and continued down the road in front of the condos before she realized her mistake and turned around. My wife commented sympathetically that she saw that happen when she was looking for our kids in the dark down the road the other direction. “Why didn’t you SAY something??!!” the runner barked, “I was wearing a headlamp, what did you THINK I was doing??!!” she barked again. Of course I didn’t hear all of this until later, or I would have offered my thoughts at the time.
I can’t stand this weird sense of entitlement that many runners have, thinking that everyone in sight is required to give them any and all assistance they possibly need, now. Guess what: no one else cares about your race as much as you do. You make the mistakes, you live with them. People help you when they are able and willing, and you thank them. It’s pretty simple. Of all places on Earth, this is especially true at at ultramarathon on the Superior Hiking Trail. Have you seen the course ratings in Ultrarunning magazine?
I could have been more sympathetic to the runner had this exchange happened the night of the race. I was as beat as anyone at the finish, and your mind gets mushy when you are exhausted and finishing in the dark. You just want to be DONE. But this was the next morning, and by then I would expect people to cool down and see the bigger picture. This is the one thing that really bugs me about the running world, as this sense of weird entitlement is just too prevalent for my liking. I haven’t encountered this nearly as much in the ultra world, I thought I had left this behind at road races. Fortunately, the vast majority of the regulars I have encountered don’t seem to have this attitude.
And finally, for the record, I thought the course was superbly marked right up to the finish. Good job Don and Bonnie! The flags jump out at you in the dark with a headlamp. And no, I don’t think they needed to have anyone posted there to point to the several flags marking the turn. I went off course at the finish in the Spring race, because rather than remember the pre-race instructions I clearly heard, I followed the path that I was convinced the course would follow. I’m guessing this runner did something similar. It’s an innocent mistake, it happens, you fix it and move on.