Since we're all used to everything happening at light speed, when someone screws up word gets around FAST. Such was the case when SELF magazine made fun of a runner for wearing a tutu...while running a marathon....with brain cancer... and did we mention that the tutus are hand made by her to raise money for Girls on the Run. Houston, we have a (Public Relations) problem. As you can imagine, the internet troll didn't take his time with that one and essentially flung it through every single internet tube, newspaper stand, and TV station as fast as possible.
What happened was that Monika Allen (Glam Runner) received an innocent enough request to use a picture of her running the LA Marathon in one of her hand crafted tutus. They then proceeded to run it in a "BS Meter" segment that read as follows:
"A racing tutu epidemic has struck NYC's Central Park, and it's all because people think these froufrou skirts make you run faster. Now, if you told us they made people run from you faster, maybe we would believe it."
Ouch. First Monika saw it. And then the San Diego NBC station picked it up. I think I saw it on a dozen people's facebook walls linking to either a Jezebel article,Yahoo.com version, or one of the many dozen articles that very quickly popped up. Oh yes, this one went viral.
Of course, SELF had no clue that she had cancer (although the "die tumor die" on her friend's bib might have been a tip that SOMEONE did). The magazine did what they could to try to save face. They first posted an apology on their facebook page that was quickly barraged by 8400+ comments mostly saying that it was too little too late. It felt like they were somewhat saying: "You can be yourSELF as long as: You don't wear funny clothes while running. But, if you do, we'll ask you for rights to your picture without saying why and make fun of you. (Because, why else would a women's fitness magazine want a picture of you running??) Oh, and when we find out you have brain cancer and the backlash is big enough, we'll apologize. Probably."
The day after a blog post interview between the editor and Monika herself was posted. The interview focused on exactly what SELF proclaims that it should focus on: Being the best you can in spite of whatever anyone thinks, be that fitness, fashion, or whatever. It really was a good spotlight. You know, something that you would expect from a female betterment magazine.
From my perspective, as long as runners aren't running 12 people wide and starting on the starting line, I could care less if people run naked - let alone in frilly outfits. The fact of the matter is, people wear what they wear for good reasons. I almost always wear red on race day because it makes me feel fast. Other people make sure they match head to toe. Others wear tutus or sparkle skirts. And yes.... some people even wear dumb ass hats.
Ugh, I can't believe people dress up when they run. They're not even runners.
Seriously, how can someone even show their face after dressing up
To be clear, I understand making jokes. I would like to think that this blog does it in at least 5% of its posts. And yes, sometimes those jokes are at other people's expense (Britney Spears, I'm looking at you....) In fact, I remember making a comment about how I was lined up behind a guy in a 5K wearing jeans and a gold rolex watch. The comment wasn't about me caring what he wore, it was about me being behind him! Also, I do understand that wearing funny outfits gets you lots of attention... and boy did Glam Runner get some attention! But, I think what really frustrates me is the elitist attitude that the snarky comment portrayed. As if to say you're not a runner if you don't dress the right way or aren't serious enough.
At the end of the day, running is hard enough. We don't need people worrying if they are wearing the right thing too.