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February 2, 2017

LetsRun: Not the hero we want, but the hero we need

Apparently, at some point in oral history, Plato muttered the following: Strange times are these in which we live when old and young are taught falsehoods. And the one man that dares to tell the truth is called at once a lunatic and fool.” If you believe Plato actually said that, you are an idiot. No way Plato ever said that. Dude didn’t even speak English. God damn, man.

In this increasingly uneasy time, we find ourselves wading through a quagmire of utter refuse while we search for any truth. Though, to my credit, I’m not trying THAT hard. My Twitter feed is a carefully curated echo chamber of liberals who tweet and retweet the dankest anti-Trump memes from their parents basement while I’m surrounded by friends and family who believe in basic human rights and climate change and are universally opposed to voter suppression. This could all be lies, though. I would have no clue. Everyone lies to me. So whether Plato said all that or not, I find the sentiment to be quite apropos.

And yet, all along, a beacon of hope has been shining brightly. At times, we may, and rightfully so, ignore this shining light because it’s a quagmire of utter refuse. But, with God as my witness, I’m here today to tell you: LetsRun is NOT the hero we want, but LetsRun IS the hero we need.

LetsRun is a website full of truths. It is run by the BroJos, well-coiffed twin brothers who might be two of the most controversial figures in the weird, wild word of track & field media. Texas-born, and Texas-raised, their well-established libertarian politics shine through in the laissez-faire manner with which they treat their message board, and treat all running gossip with equal weight. The BroJos are best known for pacing Paula Radcliffe to her World Record marathon performance at the Chicago marathon and for holding highly public grudges against certain athletes and training groups.

According to their manifesto, LetsRun’s “World Famous Message Boards” are where you our amazing visitors share all your incredible knowledge about the running (and non-running world)” and, sure, maybe TrakStar69 posts the occasional fib about how he saw “Parker Stinson run 12×200 in 25-seconds in a HOKA Clifton” but the majority of the content on LetsRun ranges from quasi-informative to informative to comical. One informative post I recently found was a training thread created by famed coach Renato Canova. It was 25 pages about how SPEED ENDURANCE needs to be treated differently than ANAEROBIC ENDURANCE. Wild, wild stuff. So real, though. Also Renato is the man because when someone asks him a dumb question, he’s just like “I will not answer the last question because idiot and I need to tell you about a Kenyan I once made sprint 35 kilometers because important.” Which is nice because our President does not do that.

There’s a LetsRun thread titled “loss of coordination in leg.” It has over 1,000 posts. I only read the first page, but I’ve got imagine by page 13 it has morphed into a self-help group of middle-aged men who have all lost coordination of their legs. That is so beautiful and touching. People helping people. Guys just tossing truth bombs out to the internet and then receiving support for their mysterious leg condition. LetsRun is medicine.

We take LetsRun for granted. I’m using the collective We because I know, as fans of athletics, everyone has at some point written off LetsRun because a BroJo happened to make another egregious writing/reporting error. But, what we have to respect, are their balls. They wade out into the quagmire (my third use of the word quagmire because I’m being paid by Big Quagmire) and they tend to dig up some dirt. They aren’t afraid to ask a question that might be met with a pause, and not an automatic “Yeah, legs felt pretty good after a few weeks of big miles.” Which is nice.

Each morning, when I visit LetsRun, it is with a certain amount of pause. The BroJos have stuck to their Y2K-guarantee of “we surf the net, so you don’t have to” and their aggregation of global running news onto a poorly-designed website is great. And while I can look past the obvious grammar issues, it is harder to see beyond the, at times, misogynistic and just plain stupid things posted on the site. I understand stopping any and every troll who decides to keyboard-lash someone over their 18:49 5K PR will never happen, but a little more compassion and forethought on the LetsRun site would not only gain them more respect, but it would help to credential the actual good work they do.

The revolution will not be televised, but it will be on the boards.

1 comment

  1. SethR says:

    This is the best thing I’ve read in a long, long time. This Citius thing is looking MAD FINE.

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