When you run in Central Park a lot, you see a lot of fun runs, races for cures, and light sporting events — typically five kilometer runs raising money for charity. Typically also many of the people involved don’t run; they walk most of the distance. They still wear workout clothes — often higher quality gear than I wear. I don’t think walking exercises you as much as running, but it gets them outside and moving at least.
These races always give out water. They often have water tables every kilometer.
Now, don’t get me wrong. I appreciate that people need water to live. I also appreciate that event organizers don’t want liability for anyone getting dehydrated.
But walking or even running five kilometers does not need five water stops. Even on super hot days like today, a couple water tables are more than enough, no matter how in or out of shape someone is. Anyone with a special need for extra water (I have no idea what that could be) can bring an extra pint or two, no problem.
So what’s the problem with extra water? Why am I writing about having so much water? How could extra water hurt anyone?
The reason I’m writing is that all that water sends a message. It implies that exercise — even walking a few miles — is dangerous, that you have to prepare or you risk your health. In many (most?) parts of the world walking a few miles wouldn’t count as out of the ordinary or might even be a light day. In the U.S. today, we treat walking five miles as a big deal, risky, and requiring extensive preparation.
I’m not trying to be tough. I’m not saying it’s better to test limits or go without water. All my knowledge of the human condition says that we can walk a few miles without water. I’m happy to be shown I’m wrong or am missing something.
In the meantime, for the reasons above I find the extra preparation counterproductive. This country is missing the message that being outdoors and exercising is fun, easy, and healthy; not that it requires preparation, is a big deal, and is risky.
Not to mention that it takes money, volunteers’ time, and other resources from research into curing diseases and whatever other charities the events benefit.
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