How Running a Race is Like Running for Office… and How it’s Not

League of Women Voters of California/flickr.com


By Megan Cox

Sooo, those presidential debates are fun, huh? I sit there and try not to laugh at the antics, but really, it’s entertaining. And maybe a little scary. I mean, one of these guys will be running the country for four years.

But I’m not here to give you my opinion on this year’s race for the White House. And yet, in this politically charged climate, I couldn’t help but think that running a half-marathon is sometimes a little like running for office. And in other ways, it’s totally not.

So, with all due respect for our nation’s leaders and wannabe leaders, here are the similarities…

  1. For both races, you gotta be in shape. I mean it. For politicians, the camera adds at least ten pounds, right? Your body has to be fit whether you’re taking on thirteen miles or debating in a roomful of angry townspeople—ahem, I mean, debating in a town hall meeting.
  2. You gotta keep your energy up. Whether it’s two hours of running or debating, survival depends on making sure your body is fueled. Do you think the candidates sneak candy between questions? I know I would.
  3. You gotta prepare. Your mind and body must be ready to run the gauntlet, whether it’s pavement or the campaign trail.
  4. You gotta be feisty. Have you ever felt yourself smushed at the beginning of a race? It’s intense. I imagine politics is quite similar.
  5. You gotta persevere. People pick on political candidates. A lot. As for the runner of a half marathon, mile twelve seems awful lonely. But the payoff is worth it.

Thankfully, these races are different too. For instance…

  1. In a half marathon, you don’t need a power tie. You need shoes, yes, and some comfortable clothes, but your money would be wasted on any designer duds. I mean, unless that’s your look. Which is cool, I guess.
  2. A half-marathoner does not have to figure out how to solve the nations’ deficit. Seriously. That is a huge relief.
  3. In half-marathons, the entry fee is way, way cheaper than the money you would spend on a campaign. I mean, unless you’re running for a really small office, like, uh…hmmm. Nope, entry fees are much cheaper.
  4. Half-marathoners don’t have to endorse negative campaign ads. That’s some good karma for you right there.
  5. Half marathons are generally better for your health. Have you seen those guys in office? They age, like, a decade for every year in office. No thank you! I’m aging fast enough, baby. I’ll take the toned muscles and endorphins I get from my half.

This is a guest post by Megan Cox, an Oklahoma City-based novelist, writer and contributing blogger for HalfMarathons.Net. Learn more about Megan at her website.

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