Running from the Facts: Vernal Equinox edition

A surely incomplete list of the recent junk from jabbering joggers as Woke springs eternal.

I’ve decided to start a regular feature tracking specific instances of nonsense in the running media and in the scant, almost invariably terrible distance-running coverage found in mainstream media outlets.

In theory, this roundup format—which I am expecting but not promising to deliver every weekend—will achieve three things: Limit my writing at excessive length about any one dubious utterance, person, proceeding, or article (benefit to the writer); give people something to laugh at (benefit to the reader); and highlight repeated and thematic editorial and promotional missteps in the running microverse, distinguishing between honest or oblivious mistakes and the lying—including the omitting of critical facts—that emblematizes the asinine, resentment-fueled shenanigans of Wokish agitators (benefit to society). Think of the former group as sheeple, annoying and unwieldy but morally not blameworthy, and the latter as drunken, whoremongering pastors, from the megachurch-linked to the minor-league rubes peppering the Florida panhandle.

As this is the first installment of “Running from the Facts” (and concerning the name, sorry, I was having an off-day), I’ll offer some one-time-only background; future editions will elide such blather.

Since late summer of 2020, I have chronicled here an assortment of uncontested and in some cases uncontestable lies, deceptions and underhanded moves by running writers, pundits and “influencers” as well as the failure of a single one of them to acknowledge a single misstep. Each has instead plowed ahead with redoubled vigor and fingers-jammed-in-ears resolve, as if they perceive legitimate pushback and opprobrium as cheers of encouragement or somehow convert criticism psychologically into praise. But of course they know better, as they have shown in their crude attempts the kibosh on both my blogging and my greater vocational life. They are craven, shriveled little people whose only “power” lies in the national groundswell of stupidity that presently accommodates their sick behavior—kind of like misery-loves-company plus safety-in-numbers—and the ability to dodge all or the questions thrown their way. Their capering is stupid and weak, and they are fully aware of it. But unfortunately, the guilt and ill feelings this rightly produces within the remnants of their clouded social brains only fuels additional butthurt-columns and short-lived tweets rather than catalyzing the faintest glimmer of self-reflection.

Cowards are annoying, but predictable. None will respond to challenges until they absolutely feel enough pressure to do so, and that pressure won’t come solely from me. And in the end, they’ll all try to blame someone besides themselves for any shit they have to eat for being purposefully bad people from professional media platforms; in many cases, they’ll finger each other.

So here we go:

  • While other publications were already swirling into the drain a few years ago, Podium Runner, the only running-related outlet I did any meaningful work for after 2016 besides the unfortunately short-lived Motiv Running, hadn’t published anything qualifying as Wokish through the end of last year. Part of this, I’m sure, is because anything that can be transmuted into a complaint about sexism, racism or transphobia is eagerly gobbled up by Women’s Running, essentially a sibling publication.

    I wondered if anything would change for the worse when Pocket Outdoor Media decided to name itself after the outlet it purchased, which happens to be, to date, the most flagrantly dishonest of the entire diseased batch of jogger-centric magazines on offer. While I can’t say that this March 16 Podium Runner story is evidence of that publication descending to the level of the others, it’s awful enough to mention in any decent list of Wokish transgressions.

    I don’t want to bash the writer here, Molly Hanson, as she was nothing but pleasant and professional to me when filling in for the editor-in-chief during the processing of this article and projects no ill intent here. She also has serious running chops. But no matter who does it, there are grave problems with framing women striving for equality as a definitionally morbid process in which the only obstacle is extreme oppression from a variety of internal sources, all of them traceable to white males. This makes women of all backgrounds look not oppressed but inherently powerless—in need of ceaseless self-glorifying white-woman intervention—and portrays running as a hostile environment no sane person would ever want to encounter by accident, much less migrate toward.

    Any article that proposes that Alison Désir is good for running carries, to be charitable, incomplete research. Désir is an anti-white racist—sorry, folks, but it works in both directions and is just as obnoxious no matter the source or target—and a product of an expensive private high school whose own running is either nonexistent or not worth mentioning in hagiographies like these, and I continue to wonder if and when Erin Strout et al. will admit that someone who wants women’s sports nixed altogether—as does any true Wokish person, a reality borne of the need to dissolve anything smacking of a “power structure” built and held by men—is a weird choice of a powerful advocate for women’s running.

    Apart from Désir’s inclusion, though, and a strange digression into why female joggers of color apparently need their own racing shoes, the article is pretty good; in fact, simply eliminating this one shamelessly destructive profiteer from progressive running conversations would improve every story that now includes her name by at least a letter grade.

  • Emilia Benton, a writer for real outlets who laments any praise of my clunky manprose and like Désir is openly bigoted (sexist as well as anti-white racist), produced an article for Runner’s World about transgender athletes that is as dishonest as Lindsay Crouse’s still-lingering New York Times brain-fart (omitted from today’s post because I already covered it), but for different reasons. While the far less industrious Crouse goes with “Know what’s really unfair to girls? Underfunding!”, Benton tries to play the denial-of-inclusion card. But like Crouse, she treats the whole opposing argument, which both science and a majority of Americans support, as an abstraction:

    Many supporters of these bills say they want to protect opportunities for girls and women in sports, including things like access to scholarships at colleges and provide fairness to female competitors.

    The article gives input from one transgender activist and “expert” after another, but none at all from someone like Alanna Smith or her parents or coaches. Benton even attempts to water down statements that smack of anything less than unrestricted trans-female competition, such as when she uses a tiny, irrelevant study of joggers to try to counter Joanna Harper’s input. And in perhaps the most absurd touch of all, the article doesn’t deny the importance of testosterone, yet fails to even disclose that some of the high-school “girls” who have in fact won championships are literally just boys dressed as girls, having undergone no hormonal or other interventions.

    For this structural reason alone, the article is worse than really bad. It should be labeled “Skewed and uninformed opinion” in neon orange, as should any grouping of words this blatantly one-sided, regardless of the topic. If Benton believes that the set of opposing physiology-based arguments she ignores in favor of (falsely) crying “exclusion” is morally, factually or otherwise insufficient, she should say so and offer her supporting evidence. That she conspicuously does not even try says plenty about her character and how it informs her work, all of which should be read aloud in the voice of Donkey for maximum effect. Benton even has a journalism degree, so she knows better at every step of the way.

    But the article is bad at the level of details, too. For example:

    For transgender runners, one of the biggest hurdles they’re facing is getting the general public and lawmakers to understand that they’re not out there sweeping the podiums of all (or even most) of the races they’re lining up for

    This is self-evidently stupid. If I take EPO and cut the course and still get beaten in a 5K by a clean, barely trained 14-year-old, I still had an unfair advantage. And it would move me up in the overall scheme at a cost to others no matter where in the hierarchy I fell. The implied premise of this argument—”If letting trans girls run was unfair, they would win everything”—should embarrass anyone who even thinks of writing the quoted material and wants their work to be respected (a ship that has already sailed, as you’ll soon see).

    Besides, how many stolen championships, lost scholarships and other disappointments should birth girls and their supporters be expected to accommodate? Do their feelings not matter at all simply because certain pro-trans activists are some of the most vicious and dishonest Internet warriors ever assembled?

    Maybe I’ll give arguments like “Practically zero unwanted office flirtations result in anything close to sexual assault” a shot, just to illustrate that a Wokish hack’s blasé dismissal is often a wiser observer’s valid point.

    It’s also unclear whether Benton understands basic mathematical concepts.

    According to Mosier, 40, by the NCAA estimates, less than 1 percent of the NCAA’s student-athlete population is transgender, which isn’t surprising, as only about 1 percent of the general United States population is transgender. This demonstrates that a decade after the NCAA enacted its current policy, not only are transgender women not dominating the sport, they are still vastly underrepresented.

    If the percentage of trans people—and by the way, the majority of teenagers who decide that they’re transgender at any point eventually change their minds, and often immediately lose the support of the trans community when they do— is about the same in the NCAA as it is in the at-large population, how does that make them “vastly underrepresented” in college sports? Just so fuckin’ dumb.

    The official and unbelievably shameful position of the running media on transgender girls and women is that one position not only deserves to be dismissed, but does not even merit a hearing. If my writing today has a single most urgent point, it’s this: The entire niche has been taken over by dishonest, self-important, waddling bullies flying the flag of social justice. That so many affluent, openly neurotic white women with no stake in performance-oriented running other than keeping their names mixed into it have somehow taken charge of a movement supposedly aimed at elevating lower-income minorities should be a clue to the rest of the world what this bullshit is really about. The minuscule coverage in the running media devoted to the plight of Selina Soule and others who have been forced to race straight-up boys has been unsympathetic to the point of mockery (and who better than Outside’s pet coprophagic sleaze-generator, Martin Fritz Huber, to come up with this?).

    You want more hypocrisy, this time for laughs? Take a “less is more” 3:46 marathoner who complains of mistreatment of brown people by white people and watch her drool over an expensive racing shoe made by a company notorious for exploiting brown laborers—and if she missed that somehow, she subsequently indicates antagonism toward the company for other Wokish reasons.

    My previous paragraph emanates with three distinct and delicious flavors of irony, but I’m not done sampling the riches of Emilia Benton’s gibbering smarm. For someone so protective of the craft of writing and the notion of reputable outlets, one of her areas of specialization seems to be describing pathologies of the whatzit, and her one apparent foray into writing for a men’s publication, is, well:

    I’m half-convinced that Benton—who, as part of the circle-jerk spirit of these newly powerful running magazines and their contributors, was the focus of a Women’s Running story about overtraining that included not one detail about her training—is an elaborate crowd-sourced robot created for the sole purpose of inspiring me to write the easiest, most condescending insults at my or anyone’s disposal. It’s little wonder she has little concept of how much she overrates herself across the board. This righteous twerp is a one thin tampon-string away from some dude yelling “PERVERT!” at a naked woman, while standing outside that woman’s bedroom window masturbating under a midnight full moon.

  • In the Fast Women Facebook group for batshit harridans and bemused lurkers, someone recently posted a link to the lie-riddled Outside article from last year portraying Laz Lake as a racist. Most of the comments were predictable, but the ones from “KOW” (I substituted initials below for the names of functionally anonymous contributors) were a special treat.

    SAD: My respect for that race and the race director went out the window when this happened last year.

    AD: I also have no interest in following the race because of that.

    GF: I've considered (very briefly and with very little seriousness, lol) running it, but methinks I wouldn't be welcome after learning this. #transrunner

    MTC: Thank you for sharing this. I’m kind of new to following the ultra running world and I just learned about this GVRAT incident recently via RIDC. I didn’t realize it was the same RD as Barkley. Thank you for educating!

    MG: same! I won’t watch updates or celebrate this, not when the race director prefers to stick by folks who can’t handle the phrase Black Lives Matter.

    KOW: YUP. And after learning that this particular race is inspired by the prison escape of James Earl Ray (who murdered Martin Luther King), I am ALL DONE.

    CDC: yep. Exactly. No thanks.

    SEK: KOW It's mocking James Earl Ray (who could barely make it a short distance into the woods) not celebrating him.

    KM: same

    ZD: 100% white people are pretty good at forgetting this stuff when it inconveniences them

    MFF: I’m so conflicted on this. Anyone else?

    Amelia Boone Hi all. I thought I would weigh in given I've run the Barkley Marathons before. I completely understand the conflict and I myself have been very conflicted, especially given how many of Laz's races I've run. I would like to clarify one point that many people misunderstand. Yes, BM is "inspired" by JRE's escape, but not in the way people think. Laz couldn’t understand how JRE only got a few miles from prison in all of that time. After he spent a day off trail in FH, he understood. And wanted to see how far racers could get in it. It's not a "tribute" to JRE, it actually makes fun of how he couldn't get far at all from the prison. Please read this: https://ultrarunninghistory.com/barkley-marathons-birth/

    Amelia Boone: Now, that doesn't change what happened with GRVAT/CRAW and this past year. I did just want to clarify the story about Barkley's origins because it's a common misconception (one that I didn't know for many years). Thanks for understanding!

    KOW: To me it makes almost zero difference whether it explicitly celebrates James Earl Ray or not. Either way, it stages what amounts to a reenactment of his escape attempts and places runners in a role parallel to him, challenging them to do better/go farther… A distinction without a difference, as they say.

    Amelia Boone KOW completely understand how you feel that way. I hope Laz continues to learn and grow, as I hope our community does. He may have started Barkley, but Barkley is more than him.

    So there you go. Not only is Alison Wade hosting a spot where people spread lies about Laz, she attracts the kind of people who are absolutely resistant to basic mitigating or exculpatory facts. This is another example of why it is pointless to listen to a word these types say about wanting “inclusivity” or “equality”; they just want to bitch, period, heedless of reality itself, like rain-soaked prophets standing on a street corner.

  • Trail Runner is another Pocket Outdoor Media-turned-Outside brand, and I admittedly know little about it. But I was clued onto the recent efforts of an associate editor named Zoë Rom, a fifth-degree wokestress with a cool name and a great many breathless, disconnected, and seemingly well-intentioned ideas. In this article, meant to convey the idea that white people suck, Rom complains that 74.8 percent of trail runners are white—that’s slightly lower than the percentage of Americans who identify as “white only,” but maybe Rom and Benton use the same math tutor. The piece is apparently meant to…actually, I have no idea. I don’t.

    Rom also believes that running is not adequate mental-health therapy (“I’m not a mental health expert, but I have owned and operated a human brain for most of my life”). She’s also unhappy that women experience violence while running, as am I and most everyone I know, but I’m not certain what she wants done about this, or anything: “Women are fundamentally less safe than men while doing everyday things, like running or walking, and we’re OK with making them pay rather than confronting the issue with more comprehensive legislation.” And in a story for Women’s Running, she says that it’s possible figure out which women are good runners and respect them on that basis without comparing them to or even mentioning men, despite the fact that it’s always necessary to mention men since women would be much better off without us.

    Why is this stuff even being published? How is any of it adding more to the running conversation than, say, a self-edited personal blog?

  • Finally, I’m not going to dig into the reactions to Monday’s murder of ten people in Boulder because these are always predictable no matter who expresses them: A surge of cries for stronger gun control by both pols and the citizenry that wane after a week or so. But I do have to point out how often people give away their conditional attachment to social causes. In the Citius Mag newsletter this week, Chris Chavez wrote “Anti-Asian racism is something that I admittedly wasn’t as familiar with,” despite the fact that he’s a fan of Asian-American dipshit Ben Chan, who, although a lying piece of shit, certainly mentions racism a lot. Fuckin’ blah, blah, blah.

Based on just these few examples and the backstory above, it’s not up for debate what badly misguided jerks some of the people I write about are. If you disagree, especially as a regular reader, this has to represent a failure on my part to convey basic, agreed-upon facts in the context of ordinary social norms and expectations.

I try to leaven this blog with dark humor—the breathtaking hypocrisies and inexplicable self-puffery Wokesters exhibit is without parallel in my lifetime, because unlike the crusaders behind past American fascist movements (e.g., the religious right’s quest to eliminate gays and other “sexual deviants” by incarceration, humiliation and force), Wokesters have gained control of the institutions that normally check the behavior of fascists.

The main reason I tirelessly shred this crap week after week, while displaying little inclination to spread the word, is this: While I expect nothing to change for the better in the near term despite most Americans agreeing with my fundamental opposition to the Wokish (or “The Elect”), I feel a certain relief establishing a record of it all. At some point—I am counting on this—people will realize they've been had by fascist wolves in the multicolored, multisexual sheep's wool of oppression, and the tactics will stop working.

Failing that, let’s face it, it’s fun to beat up on people who are intentionally lying to serve a personal agenda that damages other people and the very institution they are claiming to “elevate” via discharges of personal unpleasantness disguised, not well, as social activism. If no one of consequence is going to pay attention, I’ll still get my licks in.