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Tuesday, March 22, 2011

World's fattest L.A. marathon finisher is criticized for 9+ hour 'long walk'

Marathon
Kelly Gneiting, the 400-pound sumo wrestler who set a Guinness World Record Sunday for being the largest man to finish a marathon, is having his parade rained on.
Readers of Gneiting's epic journey through the soaked streets of Los Angeles were inspired and congratulatory, but some were decidedly critical about the fact that it took the man with a 60-inch waist 9 hours and 48 minutes to complete the 26.2-mile race.
"What an insult to people who really trained for this event! This was nothing more than a long walk for a big guy!" commented Runner3.
"He chased his ego for nine hours, 48 minutes," sniped burningrabbit1.
Another commentor even challenged what Gneiting was actually doing.
" 'Running' constitutes getting both feet off the ground at the same time, something I'm fairly certain Mr Gneiting didn't do," Bassman8 wrote. " No disrespect to Mr. Gneiting, as I'm sure the word running didn't come out of his mouth, but as a runner, it makes me cringe each and every time someone who participates in a marathon at a walking pace states they 'ran' a marathon.  Typically, the worst aspect of these participants is their overall lack of courtesy during the event, as they tend to walk side by side in groups of 3, 4, 5 (or more) and want to start as close to the front of the pack as possible, thus blocking the runners (and joggers) who happen to be behind them, creating a situation that could lead to injury as the faster participants have to swerve to avoid the blockades.  I have no issue with walkers who want to participate, but if you know you are going to walk, please start in the back of the pack, especially at marathons with thousands of participants."
"A marathon is a race. 26.2 miles is a distance. You can't call this bit of lumbering around Los Angeles a marathon any more than you can call a walk across the street and back a 100 meter dash," Mark Spence wrote on the Fabulous Forum blog.
Gneiting did get support from some readers.
"This man beat everyone who stood on the sidelines and just watched," Kristin Schefcick wrote.
Gneiting, who fought the pain of blisters and the discomfort of rain and cold, said he felt delirious after the 10th mile but was determined to finish. "I was really struggling in the last five miles," he said, "but I said to myself, 'If I have to crawl, I will.' "
-- Tony Pierce
twitter.com/busblog

Photo: In the downpour, Kelly Gneiting approaches the 12-mile point of the Los Angeles Marathon on March 20, 2011. Credit: Mariah Tauger / Los Angeles Times

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