Walking a runners’ prerogative


By Fred Deckert


I’ve often talked with non-runners or casual runners who are amazed at the distances most of us run. Not just the marathon, but even the ubiquitous 5K gets it’s share of the comment, “I could never run THAT far!” Most of these folks, if not all of them seem to operate under the misapprehension that to WALK while you are in a race is somehow illegal. Perhaps they have visions of the “run police” giving them a ticket if they walk part of the race. Well, that’s just not so, in fact many veteran runners have walked significant portions of a race, sometimes planned, sometimes not planned and I’ve never heard of a disqualification on that score.

So, don’t let longer distances frighten you away from experiences you may enjoy. At the extreme, think of the marathon distance. The recent Tallahassee marathon had participants that took close to 6 hours to complete the 26.2 miles. That is not unusual at all. Figure it out, if you walk a brisk pace of 15 minute miles, quite doable, you would complete the marathon in 6:33. Not far off the time just mentioned. Now, if you run or jog at a 12 minute pace for 5 miles of that distance you are down to 6:18. Pick it up to a reasonable 10 minute pace for the same 5 miles an you have gotten down to 6:08. As you can see, moderate amounts of running at quite moderate pace combined with a lot of walking gets you right into the finishing times seen at most marathons. With a bit of training and the extra incentive given by your fellow runners and spectators it’s not hard to double your running distance and come down to less than 6 hours. Remember, that for many new marathon runners a 5 hour time is quite satisfactory. That time equates to about 11:30 per mile. Not out of sight at all.

Remember that the foregoing example is an extreme distance. Something in the order of a 5K or 10K is even more within your sights. Springtime Tallahassee will be coming up before long and that 10K distance is well within the range of casual runners who can take advantage of the hills to use their walking prerogative.