Rob Dylan wrote:
It would be an interesting poll to see what most non-runners would think about this:
Which is the more impressive running feat to you:
A) Run 100 miles in 24 hours.
B) Run 1 mile in 3:50:00.
The times could vary bu you get the picture. My gut says "A" will be the overwhelming top pick.
There's actually a historically accurate answer to this question, and it is A. [puts Brooks-branded flame retardant suit on]. It was the ability to cover 100 miles in a day that distinguished our ancestors from their prey. Running a mile in 3:50 might allow you to outrun your fellow cavemen, but it wouldn't get you anywhere near an antelope. But a sustained run that allowed you to pursue it until it collapsed from exhaustion? That's where we found our evolutionary advantage in being bipedal. That's how we became the dominant species on the planet. That's our bag, baby, historically speaking.
Running a 3:50 mile is certainly a much rarer skill, arguably even a more valuable one today (since chasing an antelope to the point where it collapses from exhaustion lost some of its cachet after that Whole Foods opened up down the street), but looking at which one has made the bigger impression on our history, the answer is clearly A.
Wow. I can't believe I actually wrote that out. This is what spending days obsessively following runner snark has reduced me to.