I don't really know but I have some crazy ideas to kick around. 1. In our country, worth as a runner is defined by sponsorship and sponsorship is initially determined by college times. This creates a lasting hierarchy that can be tough to break out of. That's both a dollars and cents hierarchy of how well your running can pay the bills through prize money and sponsorship(which runners have latched onto like stray cats)and a kind of subconscious hierarchy where a 14 minute guy looks at something like how much of a struggle it was for Ritz to break 2:10, therefore the thought of ever getting close to running that fast literally never crosses his mind because he already thinks of himself as being far inferior. 2. Following the idea of the hierarchy, there's the formula. The formula is that nice comfortable path that everyone follows to help them believe they're accomplishing something and climbing to a higher place on the hierarchy. You ran x in college so you can expect to run y next year and z in two years, provided you stick with your college coach. Hell, if you get good enough you might even be able to join one of them fancy training groups(just make sure you never do anything suicidal like get a job and coach yourself or start your own group). Then, in a few years, if you've stuck with the formula you can proclaim on your facebook/twitter/instagram that you're training for a marathon. But wait! Before you run a marathon you MUST first run a half-marathon. With the formula this is non-negotiable. Because, I mean, how are you supposed to know what you can run for the marathon if you've never run the half, right? So after you've run the half you KNOW the marathon through and through(because "marathon" is in the name of what you just ran) and don't have anything more to learn. Therefore your time in your first marathon is pretty much who you are. Didn't break 2:30? You might get into the 2:20s someday but 2:10s? 2:10s is for pros dude. Do you have any idea what those guys ran for 5k in college? Forget about it. Didn't break 2:20? You might break 2:15 one day but it's not looking good for you. If you were a good runner then you would be there already, right? I mean, 2:28 guys can't just train hard and run 2:10:59 three years later. And someone who runs 2:36(after dropping out of their first marathon) can't end up breaking 2:10. Impossible. Better just stick to that prescription training plan and three times per day foam rolling. It's much easier and safer to believe in those things than it is to believe in yourself.