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The Slowest Generation
By KEVIN HELLIKER for the Wall Street Journal
Saying I finished in the top 15% of my age group in last month’s Chicago Triathlon is like bragging that I could outrun your grandpa. My age group was 50 to 54. But against the entire sprint-distance field, I finished in the top 11%. That’s right: Team Geriatric outperformed the field. I’d love to report that this reflects the age-defying effects of triathlon. But my hair is gray, my hearing is dull and my per-mile pace is slower than it used to be, even at shorter distances.
Rather, this old-timer triumph is attributable to something that fogies throughout the ages have lamented: kids these days. A lack of competitiveness among younger runners is turning some races into parades.
They’re just not very fast. “There’s not as many super-competitive athletes today as when the baby boomers were in their 20s and 30s,” said Ryan Lamppa, spokesman for Running USA, an industry-funded research group. While noting the health benefits that endurance racing confers regardless of pace, Lamppa—a 54-year-old competitive runner—said, “Many new runners come from a mind-set where everyone gets a medal and it’s good enough just to finish.”
Read the fully article on the Wall Street Journal