Monday, November 26, 2012

How to put the ‘man’ back in ‘marathon’

Let’s face it: compared to testosterone-fueled contact sports like football, ice hockey and Jujitsu, long-distance running just isn’t that manly.

As a man, it’s one thing to idolize famous athletes who look like this:

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But anyone with a pair of testicles is going to have a hard time explaining why their hero looks like an adolescent girl with a bad haircut:

Photo courtesy of Marcio Jose Sanchez/

Look, a community 10K is never going to be as effortlessly macho as a backyard game of pigskin on a crisp fall day. That’s why Brett Favre—not Galen Rupp—is the poster boy for Wrangler jeans. And that’s why Brett Favre—not Galen Rupp—had the audacity to text photos of his junk to a woman who looks like this:

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But you don’t have to be a retired NFL star in grass-stained Five Star Premium Denim to exude masculinity and win the approval of your fellow XYs. You just have to follow a few simple rules to avoid coming off as a bird-legged sissy in short-shorts.

1. Have facial hair. Nothing says, “I own a power drill” like a little bit of mug-scruff. But beware—too much of a good thing will leave you looking more hobo (i.e. Tom Hanks in Castaway) than hunky (i.e. Brad Pitt in Moneyball).

2. Either wear sleeves, or don’t. Manly men do not slip removable spandex tubes over their forearms in case it’s a bit chilly (or a bit balmy) on the course. Sensitivity to temperature fluctuations is a known side effect of estrogen, which is why arm sleeves—like half-tights and battery-powered mini fans—should be reserved for female use only.

3. Listen to classic rock. Before you head to the starting line, make sure your iPod is loaded up with AC/DC, The Rolling Stones and Led Zeppelin. When the dude to your right asks what you’re jamming to, your answer should not be, “One Direction.”

4. Wear black. Johnny Cash was just kidding when he said he’d love to wear a rainbow everyday. At least half of your outfit should be black or gray. If you want to rock a lime green shirt, go for it. You just couldn’t resist those bright blue shorts on the clearance rack at Sports Authority? Fine. But please, for the love of all that is holy, do not wear them together. Because when you look like this:

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Other guys see this:

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5. Win. A man does not engage in a competitive activity—be it a sport, a video game or a checkers match with Granny—simply to participate. He does it to destroy his opponent and thus prove his superiority to the rest of the male race. If that means vomiting blood for 20 minutes after out-kicking a slightly overweight teenager in a homestretch sprint for 41st place in the local Turkey Trot, so be it. Bloody oatmeal barf is a small price to pay for the preservation of your masculinity.   

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