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.