In Which I Explain why Marathon Runners are Depraved and Should Just Have their Knees Fall Off Before I Give them One
Red Cent

A McKinney, TX Planned Parenthood was attacked—and probably not because it performed abortions. It didn’t. It provided contraception and health screenings. Yet this clinic has been the focus of activism which, under the circumstances, seems to be as much about contraception as about abortion, as Amanda Marcotte has argued.

Now, perhaps you, dear reader, are a woman in the U.S. who has had sex. And perhaps, like 99 percent of such women, you used artificial contraception at some point in your life. You may read this news (and other evidence of a growing mobilization against contraception) with alarm, thinking “What in the Sam Hill? Now they’re after contraception? Like, no, seriously, they are coming after contraception in general, as a part of basic health care for the vast majority of people who aren’t opposed to it on religious grounds?”

If that is what you are thinking, then you will probably also want to hear about two other recent developments:

First, the Institutes of Medicine evaluated the effectiveness of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act of 2010, and issued recommendations to the US Department of Health and Human Services on how preventive services could be improved. Included were recommendations for “a fuller range of contraceptive education, counseling, methods, and services so that women can better avoid unwanted pregnancies and space their pregnancies to promote optimal birth outcomes.” This recommendation did not go uncriticized.

Second, HR 2678, The Communities of Color Teenage Pregnancy Prevention Act, was introduced in Congress on July 28 by Rep. Lucille Roybal-Allard (D-CA) and Senator Barbara Boxer (D-CA). As Rebecca Medina and Sally Schaeffer explain at RH Reality Check, this bill addresses both sexual violence in intimate relationships, and lack of access to reproductive health information and to contraception. (Since restricting access to contraception, or sabotaging its effectiveness, is a technique that abusive partners are known to use in order to perpetuate the abuse, that makes good sense.)

Of course, this mixed bag of news only hints at the central question, which is: What about those of us who have all the right ideas about how other people should use their bodies? Should we allow huge numbers of other people to do improper things with their bodies, especially when we might end up indirectly paying for it?

I say no. This is why I hope you will join me in support of God’s Design For Walking.

For there is a scourge of marathon-running in this country.

How do I know that marathon-running is not something you should be doing with your body? I mean, it’s only, like, TOTALLY OBVIOUS and available to be read off of reality as such. But, fine, I’ll spell it out:

1. Human bodies were not designed by God to run marathons. Just look at all the health problems that come from running marathons: knee problems, plantar fasciitis, collapsed arches. The claim that it’s somehow about health is clearly a lie.

2. It’s hard to talk while you’re running. We all know communication is vitally important for a healthy marriage.

3. There’s a heavy dose of misogyny inherent in marathon-running. The female bosom provides sustenance to a child, and is a source of delight between a woman and her husband. Now, let’s think about what running does to a lady’s, ahem, front mezzanine area. I mean: sports bras? If you have to buy a special garment in order to indulge your running hobby, shouldn’t that be a clue that you’re doing something contrary to nature? Walking cooperates with the beautiful purpose of your female form, where marathon-running says “Take that! And that! And that!” Marathon runners, why do you insist on pathologizing women’s bodies?

4. Running a marathon is fundamentally selfish. It takes a lot of time; time that could be better spent with your family.

5. Consider the symbolism of marathon-running. Exactly what are you trying to get away from? I’m concerned for you.

6. I knew a family who grew closer when they all stopped training for marathons.

7. I knew another family where dad’s marathon-running habit ruined their lives.

8. Some Nazis used to do distance running.

9. Marathon runners use heart rate monitors. Heart rate monitors convey a false sense of hyperindividualist autonomy: the conceit, so characteristic of modernity, that allows someone to think s/he knows her/his own heart. Theologians and spiritual writers throughout the centuries have consistently said that we do not know our own hearts, that our very selves are opaque to us, fully known only by the God who created us. I hate to contemplate the fate of those who must use heart rate monitors in order to stay alive. Nevertheless, the tragic and painful truth is that heart rate monitors are a fundamentally atheist device.

10. The first marathoners were pagan. I think that speaks for itself.

Now, what if you still want to run marathons? Look, I’m not trying to make it illegal or anything. I mean, sure, I’ll protest at your gym. And I’ve already called my representatives to say that no health plan on any public exchange should cover knee injuries, just in case those injuries come from people running marathons; and no public money should cover knee injuries for poor people, in case they got them from training for a distance race. But if you ABSOLUTELY MUST do distance-running? Fine, just don’t ask me to pay for it.

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