Saturday, February 1, 2014

Run Bloggers

I had decided that I wasn't going to blog any more, but I think this is important enough that it needs to be said.

In my (admittedly short) time reading running blogs I've come across several different types of blogs.  Some of them are cool, some are awesome, and some are...I don't know what to call it. 

First we have the personal bloggers.  This includes people like The Emerging Runner and She Is Out Running.  These blogs are chock full of run reports, race reports, with the occasional personal vignette thrown in.  They are written by runners who love to run, and write their blogs because running is their passion.  They've made some good friends through blogging, but mostly it's about their experience as runners.  I really enjoy reading blogs like these.  The two examples here are quite friendly people, and offer advice if asked, in helpful, useful ways.  What you won't find here is an agenda.  There are no aspirations to be ambassadors of running, or attempts to change the running world as we know it.  And that's awesome--I can dig it.

The second type I've noticed are the blogs that exist to serve as a resource for other runners.  I'll call them resource bloggers.  Great examples here are The Running Shoes Guru and The Lyons' Share Wellness.  The Running Shoes Guru provides a great resource for researching shoes.  Megan Lyons' passion is to help others improve themselves via diet, running, etc.  She relates personal stories and writes in a way to engage the reader.  She cares about those that read her blog.  She cares about what her blog says to those that read.  I have yet to make a serious comment on one of her posts that didn't get a reply.  These blogs too are awesome. 

The third type of blogger I've seen is the ambassador blogger.  These people have that strong personality, or that "it factor" that seems to attract readers to them.  People like Jill, Emz, and Beth.  They don't try to drive readers to their page, the content is just there--real "If you build it, they will come" stuff.  There's no possible way these bloggers could keep up with all the traffic that travels through their pages.  (But they do make a game attempt.)  I really like these blogs too--because who doesn't gravitate to these kind of peeps?  And furthermore, consciously or not, these bloggers are respectful of what running can mean to people.  They get that running is bigger than them, and they wield their influence and forum with care.

The final type of blogger I won't be giving examples of, but unfortunately in my experience they are far too common.  These blogs are written by people who are runners--and most often are talented runners at that.  But they've appointed (or anointed) themselves as figureheads, challenging themselves to become "beacons" for others in their running exploits.  They beg of you to follow them on Facebook, and Instagram, and Twitter, but then they refuse to engage with the average ordinary reader/runner.  Faithful commenting and questions are met with silence--unless you're someone of equal or greater running social clout.  While the other types of bloggers either don't care about your status, or actually seek out the little people, these self centered bloggers are constantly gauging whether replying to you advances their vision as a blogger.  And the golden rule above all others, is to make certain their posts illustrate how awesome they are.

I get it.  There are self centered, selfish, ego-driven people in all avenues of life.  It's not a new thing and far from uncommon.

So why does it bother me so much when I run across these type of bloggers?

Because of the power of running itself.  There are all kinds of blogs on all manners of topic out there.  But we aren't talking about fashion blogging here.  Or hobby racecars.  Certainly these are topics that people can be passionate about.  But I don't see them as having the ability to universally transcend and effect an absolute paradigm shift within people.  And when I say people, I mean anyone

Running has the ability to (and routinely does) completely transform people.

As a runner I'm sure you get that.

And so when someone takes that, and uses it to feed their own ego, (and through their natural talent lend a sense of legitimacy to their actions and words), and actively exclude those that don't fit their brand of socially elite runner, it rankles me. 

I am 100% positive that I'm being over-sensitive about this.  But I guarantee you there are others that have felt the sting of that exclusion as well.

And that just sucks.

So, if you happen to read this, do me a favor and for the briefest of moments think about what you're putting out there, and how it might affect those who may read it.

With that I'll be taking a hiatus from blogging.  I don't know how long I'll be gone, clearly I have some serious issues to deal with of my own.