I'm a little surprised that Thumper's opinions didn't spark the least bit of a discussion. You bring up some interesting points.
You cause me to think of what I believe a marathoner to be. If someone is giving it everything they have for 26.2 miles should it matter whether they run it in 3 hours or 4 or 5 ...?
Should the fater folk get something different then the mid-packers (other than a chance to place in their age group)??
There is actually a race that I do in Hamilton, Ontario called "Around the Bay". It is one of the oldest road races in North America...not sure if it's older than Boston, but if not it is pretty close. They actually have a coloured medal system based on finishing time. It is a 30k race, and those who finish under 2 hours get a gold medal, from 2 hours to 2:15 you get a silver medal and after 2:15 you get a bronze.
As a runner approaching the 3 hour marathon mark it would be easy for me to say that yes the runners who go faster should be rewarded. And yet I'm inclined to say no. For all but a few runners in each event, the race has but one competitor - yourself. For some it will be pushing themselves just to complete the run. For others maybe to set a PB, or to qualify for Boston. But each of us is a runner / marathoner who has what it takes to push themselves off the couch and live the running lifestyle.
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