There is a recent article making the rounds in the running community:
The author, Kevin Helliker, goes as far as to say, "But to some observers, that change contributed to a growing embrace of mediocrity."
He quotes a statistic that states in the last 31 years the median men's marathon finishing time has increased by 44 minutes!
Now, I completely disagree with mediocrity increasing with the increasing marathon finishing rate. But I think the exact opposite has happened!
Why were marathon finishing times so fast 31 years ago?
Because three decades ago people did not race against themselves. They races against other competitors, and often if they did not have a chance of winning, they did not race.
The majority of people who competed in endurance events decades ago, were ex high school or college runners. Often races were not even timed, as placing was what mattered.
The mediocre runners often quit running because they were not competitive.
He talks about events like The Color Run or Tough Mudders. They don't time or post results. But that's not the point. The point is to get out there, be active, and be awesome!
How is this mediocre if people who would otherwise NOT being doing anything, are doing incredible things? Things they maybe didn't think possible for themselves a year prior.
In 1990 there were 3,797,000 marathon finishers. In 2012 there were 15,534,000 marathon finishers in the US!
If you ask me, that's a hell of a lot of excellence, right there!