This past Sunday, I watched parts of the Houston Marathon on television. (Yes, although it runs through my neighborhood, passing four blocks from my house, I didn’t actually make it to watch in person.)
The local ABC affiliate did a fine job with the broadcast, with 2 anchors plus a local university track coach presenting the majority of the commentary.
Noting that the make-up of the half-marathon was 60% women, 40% men, but the reverse for the marathon, the track coach explained the gender flip-flop by saying that women just don’t like to run for as long as it takes to train for and complete a whole marathon.
His proof? His wife. She prefers shorter runs.
This would have been a very different post had I written it in the heat of the moment Sunday. Because, I must tell you, this was a shout at the TV moment for me. You can’t extrapolate a single cause for a gender difference in marathon running based solely on your wife’s length-of-run preference, idiot!
With the benefit of a couple of days’ reflection, I can say more than just idiot. I will graciously recognize that it must be tough having to find interesting, thoughtful things to say during a broadcast that lasts as long as a marathon does, and they did have to get up early, and the track coach isn’t trained to be a sports commentator.
But if he gets to pop off like that, why not me?
Why not, indeed. Allow me to share this fascinating data point from today’s paper:
“Men now are increasingly likely to marry wives with more education and income than they have, and the reverse is true for women,” said Paul Fucito, spokesman for the Pew Center. “In recent decades, with the rise of well-paid working wives, the economic gains of marriage have been a greater benefit for men.”
I’m trying to figure out how the rise of well-paid working wives ties in with the 40/60 split between women and men in the full marathon. I guess that men spend more time on long runs while women spend more time getting ahead at school and work.