No; my take on this matter is that the average marathon participant simply isn't a good enough athlete to really run a marathon; in my opinion very few people are.
To illustrate my point, consider, say, the 50 mile ultra. There are folks who really run the whole way; they just hammer it.
on the other hand, the vast majority of the finishers walk/jog it. Don't get me wrong; I think a 50 mile finish is an excellent achivement!
But only a handfull of running studs/studettes can really run that distance.
Same with the marathon, except that the percentage of entrants that can really run that distance is higher.
ps; I've finished the marathon distance (or greater) 16 times in my life and have never felt that I've actually *run* one.
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