Shame On You Running Community

Every few weeks or months, a runner gets busted for cheating during a race. The internet grabs their pitch forks and torches and proceeds to tear the runner who made the unjustifiable decision to cheat from limb to limb. 

Yesterday, I started following a thread in a group I belong to about a runner who went out of her way to cheat and then cover her tracks during a half marathon in Florida. Now, the runner in question wasn't your average middle pack runner. This is a woman who took second place and cheated another runner out of a podium finish. It's unfortunate. It's disappointing. And it was negligent. 

I'm not defending this runner's actions but I need to draw a huge circle around the disparaging comments that are running rampant in the comment sections of articles, Facebook groups, and on the runner in question's Instagram account before it was made private. 

These witch hunts pop up every few weeks. A runner cheats, gets caught, and the running community tears them apart not just for their decision to cheat, but for anything and everything from their professional life to their ethnicity.

And it's gross. 

Should a cheater be punished and forced to live with the consequences? Absolutely. Should they be ridiculed for everything they've ever done in their life? 

I don't think so.

When they go low, we go high. 

I don't believe in online witch hunts. I don't support the schadenfreude that surrounds these witch hunts. No good comes from slamming a runner or the team that they run with. 

And if you don't agree, watch this. 

Be better running community. 

I'm not saying forgive and forget. I'm saying fight the urge to jump on the bandwagon and bully someone into a shame induced coma.

And if you still disagree and truly believe that your opinion should be heard, find the runner's email and reach out to them. 

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Kelly Roberts

It all started when a silly joke made headlines back in 2014 when I took selfies with hot guys “hottie hunting” my way through the New York City Half Marathon. But ironically enough, I haven't always been a runner. As the self-proclaimed former President of the "I f*cking hate running club", I spent most of my life finding ways to avoid physical activity. Growing up, I missed over 70 days of PE my senior year. Working out was something I thought I had to suffer through in order to lose weight. 

Then, in 2009, my younger brother passed away unexpectedly and struggling to manage my grief, I gained more than 75 pounds. With the weight gain came a new fight to regain my sense of self and learn to love the body I saw when I looked in the mirror. Then one Thanksgiving morning, drowning in grief and self doubt, I decided to go for a run. I didn't make it half way down my street before I had to stop to walk but for some reason, struggling forward made more sense than getting back into bed. It turns out that running is a lot like grief, neither ever really get easier, you just get stronger. 

Over time, I realized that while some people are in fact born runners, others are made. I created this blog Run, Selfie, Repeat and my new podcast by the same name with the hopes to inspire others to say yes to themselves while making them laugh hysterically because laughing, in my opinion, is the solution to everything. 

Named by Women's Running as one of twenty women who are changing the sport of running and by Competitor Magazine as one of 12 Influential and inspiring runners under 30, my mission is to inspire others to get embrace a healthy lifestyle and pursue the strongest version of themselves possible.