Paul Ryan and the meaning of running

The Barnstormer‘s JB Staniforth is not impressed with Paul Ryan’s lie:

That, there, is what I don’t get about Paul Ryan and his contrived sub-three-hour marathon. The man actually ran something over four hours, which puts him closer to my pace than it does to Eric’s. Faster than I’d most likely run it, actually. And there’s no problem with that kind of time: finishing a marathon at all is a respectable task, one that many extremely fit runners find is all they can hope for when they hit the wall (as Eric did in Boston after he drove himself too hard up the infamous Newton Hills). My father reminds me when we talk about distance running that the guy the race memorialises dropped dead immediately thereafter, so aspiring to that kind of distance is already a fairly superhuman feat. Anyone I know who’s run a marathon maintains it as a point of pride in a discussion that takes place entirely with themselves, about what they’re capable of and how far they’re willing to go to prove privately their ability to excel.

But Paul Ryan thinks a marathon is mainly a race against other people, and he lied about how well he did in it—reminding me of no one more than Kim Jong Il, who used to report hitting multiple holes-in-one in golf games. It’s not just the dishonesty that pisses me off: it’s that he misses the point of running entirely. The race is against yourself, guy. Go out there and run your own damned race…

It doesn’t sit well with me, either, but I’m not a runner. Do the other runners around here (Jason, the Doc, et al.) feel the same?

Jonathan McLeod

Jonathan McLeod is a writer living in Ottawa, Ontario. (That means Canada.) He spends too much time following local politics and writing about zoning issues. Follow him on Twitter.


  1. 40 miles on foot marks an easy day of jogging, for those who are used to it.

    Running is not a sport — it isn’t about pushing limits of physicality, except when you’re at the olympic level. it’s about determination.

    • Kimmi, you say a lot of cracked out nonsense, most of which I ignore. Saying running is not a sport is one of the daftest things I’ve ever seen you say, which (considering your body of work) is quite something.

  2. Look. I’m much more worried about the lies he told in his convention speech than about how fast he ran a marathon.

    But the marathon lie annoys the crap out of me. When I eventually run my first marathon, I will be thrilled if I break four hours. And the overwhelming majority of avocational runners feel the same way, I’d wager.

    Ryan’s lie blithely asserted that he was much, much better than any of us could hope to be. I have a reasonable shot at meeting or besting his actual time, but no chance of getting anywhere close to his fake one. Insofar as I take something as fundamentally non-serious as running seriously (and the Better Half will tell you that I take it quite seriously enough, thank you), it really pisses me off that someone would say to me “I’m much better than you can ever hope to be” when, in fact, he’s not and never will be.

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