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May 23, 2018

What Does It Mean To Have Balls While Racing?

This weekend’s Prefontaine Classic features a loaded men’s two-mile race that includes Edward Cheserek making his return to Hayward Field as a professional, Commonwealth Games medalist Mo Ahmed, Olympic silver medalist and U.S. stud Paul Chelimo and many more big names. Fast times are almost a guarantee. There’s a chance that we could see records. Daniel Komen holds the world record with his 7:58.61 and that’s probably safe. Craig Mottram ran 8:03.50 in 2007. In his post-race interview, he said, “It comes down to the size of your balls…if you’ve got enough guts to go with it.”

You can watch the race and his interview below:

So we decided to run the concept by the Running Things Considered crew….

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What does it mean to have balls?

Nicole Bush

I’ve had balls in a race before. I guess, maybe I’d like it to be said that I’ve had tits in a race before. At the 2013 U.S. Championships, I went to the front in the beginning of the race and just stayed there the whole race. This was after running like 4:50 for the mile just four months earlier. I was injured and didn’t hit 50ish miles per week until December 2012. Before the race – like the morning of – I was just imagining ways to get out of the race. On the track, I was for sure nervous just from trying to tell how much of a gap I had and if I was holding it. I tried doing that by judging how long it took to hear the next splash from the water pit. In your head, you’re thinking, ‘I might not be fit enough, but I guess I’m going to try and win now.’ I also think of Des Linden at the Boston Marathon in 2011. You can be ballsy and not win.

Your boat might sink but you’re paddling anyway.

Being ballsy makes people notice something: Taking a chance, taking a risk, doing something that is a little ill-advised. It’s the cliche “go big or go home.”

Thoms Heynk

Having balls means being out of your depth a bit. It is basically knowing that what you’re doing isn’t safe but doing it anyways. It’s like “Fuck it. I’m going to try it!” If someone like Mo Farah leads a race at his normal pace, whatever. But if he goes out at like world record pace, that takes balls. Other ballsy performances that comes to mind is Julia Lucas at the 2012 U.S. Olympic Trials. Patrick Tiernan at NCAA XC or Michael photoshopping himself into Carole’s Christmas card.

I think most ballsy people fail. That’s why it’s a big deal to be ballsy. Ballsy probably more often than not blows up on you.

Ryan Sterner

I think it is just a cooler way of saying, “I’m going to make it a pure guts race.” I’ve never had balls in a race before. I am a huge baby.

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