Promoted from the Ricochet Member Feed by Editors Created with Sketch. Are 5K Walks a Sign of Our Growing Narcissism?

 

Michael Scott

The first problem I have with 5K walks and races is that I have no idea how far I am going. Who decided that we should utilize the metric system for measuring the length of fun runs? As has been well documented on Ricochet in the past, the metric system is wrong. To further prove the point, just think of some people who have used the metric system (Hitler and Stalin) and some who did not (St. Paul and da Vinci). I mean, honestly, enough said, right?

Anyway, the point of this post is not to rail against the metric system (as enjoyable as that is), but rather to discuss an odd phenomena of the past few decades called the charity walk or run. During this season of giving, only a deranged member (such as me) would nitpick the specifics around charity events and not just accept them as a fun way to raise money for a good cause. With that said, let’s get a few things out of the way before we go further. No, I am not in favor of disease, poverty, drowning puppies, or denying orphans their multi-vitamins. However, I am asking the question: why do we tie walking or running in circles with “doing something” to help others? Why can’t we just quietly donate money as our ancestors did without putting on the short shorts and overpriced tennis shoes (please don’t see this as an indictment of charity race participants. I was in a 5K myself a few weeks ago, I just find the practice odd)? I argue there are two reasons some (not all) folks need the race and ribbon and don’t just make the donation.

  1. Some people (again, not all) want/need to make an act of giving partly about themselves
  2. In the age of bumper sticker politics, some people feel a need to have a venue to tell you what they find important rather than donating anonymously

Now, I am a man of my times and accept that these events are not going anywhere, so I propose the first annual Ricochet 1K walk. I have no idea how far 1K is, but it could not be that far, so we could probably just make it one lap around Lileks’ palace in Minneapolis. I suggest we shoot for the first week of June, as it is the only tolerable period in between the two seasons of Minnesota, Snow and Mosquito. The first 10 people to register will have their membership status automatically upgraded to the prestigious Thomas E. Dewey level which includes a Chicago Tribune with the headline of your choice (probably).

There are 58 comments.

Become a member to join the conversation. Or sign in if you're already a member.
  1. TG Thatcher

    Yes.

    1 kilometer is approximately 0.6 miles.

    • #1
    • December 28, 2014, at 4:43 PM PST
    • 1 like
  2. Al Sparks Thatcher

    I’ve commented on this before online (not on Ricochet). I hate it.

    The upshot is, you’re asking donations for whatever, because you are going to work really, really hard at accomplishing nothing.

    I’m still waiting, but I’d like to see someone come up to me and say that if he or she donates ?? hours of time to a food line to feed impoverished people or donated time in a homeless would I like to donate to the charity of that someone’s choice?

    I’ll gladly do that for someone who’s donating time to Meals on Wheels, or someone who is simply mowing a lawn for a shut-in.

    But for someone who shaved their head? NOTHING.

    • #2
    • December 28, 2014, at 5:03 PM PST
    • Like
  3. PHCheese Member

    It is actually .62 miles so a 10 k sounds much longer than a lousy 6.2 miles.

    • #3
    • December 28, 2014, at 5:05 PM PST
    • 1 like
  4. Profile Photo Member

    Is the proposed 1k open to people with mobility impairments?

    • #4
    • December 28, 2014, at 5:14 PM PST
    • Like
  5. Profile Photo Member

    Walking is for chumps. Oh, sorry Pleated.

    Soon it will be time for the 3rd Annual Worst Poster(Writer) of Ricochet Award. With enough money and enemies you can win. Each vote is gotten when $5 is donated to the selected charities. There is a $20 to charity entry fee for those who are so brave to toss their avatar into the ring.

    Here is the link.

    http://ricochet.com/archives/fundraiser-1229-50-so-far-voting-begins-on-the-worst-writer-of-2013/

    Pleated, I really think you have a natural talent for incoherency. I can’t find fault with your logic. I can’t even find it.

    • #5
    • December 28, 2014, at 5:19 PM PST
    • Like
  6. John Walker Contributor

    An average person walks about 5 km in one hour on level ground.

    In the public affairs commentary of a recent NASA rocket launch, I heard velocities cited in:

    • feet per second,
    • (statute) miles per hour, and
    • kilometres per hour

    and altitudes given in:

    • statute miles,
    • nautical miles, and
    • kilometres

    If you want to use archaic units, fine. But just pick one and stick with it.

    Units confusion can be expensive.

    • #6
    • December 28, 2014, at 5:35 PM PST
    • Like
  7. Pleated Pants Forever Inactive

    TG:Yes.

    1 kilometer is approximately 0.6 miles.

    Only 0.6 miles, eh. Well, maybe it will have to be a trip around Lileks’ garage instead of his home.

    • #7
    • December 28, 2014, at 5:39 PM PST
    • Like
  8. Pleated Pants Forever Inactive

    Al Sparks:But for someone who shaved their head? NOTHING.

    Guessing you’re not a big fan of the bucket challenge either.

    • #8
    • December 28, 2014, at 5:41 PM PST
    • Like
  9. Profile Photo Member

    John Walker:An average person walks about 5 km in one hour on level ground.

    In the public affairs commentary of a recent NASA rocket launch, I heard velocities cited in:

    • feet per second,
    • (statute) miles per hour, and
    • kilometres per hour

    and altitudes given in:

    • statute miles,
    • nautical miles, and
    • kilometres

    If you want to use archaic units, fine. But just pick one and stick with it.

    Units confusion can be expensive.

    There are different speeds. I thought there was just “On” and “Off”.

    • #9
    • December 28, 2014, at 5:41 PM PST
    • Like
  10. Pleated Pants Forever Inactive

    PHCheese:It is actually .62 miles so a 10 k sounds much longer than a lousy 6.2 miles.

    If someone said 6.2 miles at least you know how far you are going. It’s like the time Mr. Burns bought that 100 gram weight thinking it was a lot……there is just no way to make sense of the metric system

    • #10
    • December 28, 2014, at 5:42 PM PST
    • Like
  11. Pleated Pants Forever Inactive

    Nanda Panjandrum:Is the proposed 1k open to people with mobility impairments?

    NPJ – I should have been more clear. No walking is actually allowed in the Ricochet 1K. Scooters, bikes, skateboards, and Mad Max style dune buggies are all OK, but no walking.

    • #11
    • December 28, 2014, at 5:43 PM PST
    • Like
  12. Pleated Pants Forever Inactive

    10 cents:

    Pleated, I really think you have a natural talent for incoherency. I can’t find fault with your logic. I can’t even find it.

    Diez Centavos – you make me look forward to sandals season and, as a guy who wears pleated pants, I hate sandals season

    • #12
    • December 28, 2014, at 5:46 PM PST
    • Like
  13. Profile Photo Member

    Pleated Pants Forever:

    Nanda Panjandrum:Is the proposed 1k open to people with mobility impairments?

    NPJ – I should have been more clear. No walking is actually allowed in the Ricochet 1K. Scooters, bikes, skateboards, and Mad Max style dune buggies are all OK, but no walking.

    I am confused. Is it “1” or “O” with the “K”? What is the World Record for the OK anyway?

    • #13
    • December 28, 2014, at 5:46 PM PST
    • Like
  14. Pleated Pants Forever Inactive

    John Walker:If you want to use archaic units, fine. But just pick one and stick with it.

    Units confusion can be expensive.

    JW – this is the problem with you science types. It’s my God given right to use gallons, cups, and hogsheads all to describe the same thing

    • #14
    • December 28, 2014, at 5:48 PM PST
    • Like
  15. John Walker Contributor

    Pleated Pants Forever: If someone said 6.2 miles at least you know how far you are going. It’s like the time Mr. Burns bought that 100 gram weight thinking it was a lot……there is just no way to make sense of the metric system

    And in silly Imperial units you can’t easily compare things like the solar energy received in a square metre at the Earth’s surface on a cloudless day near the Equator (around 1 kW/m^2) and the energy produced by the engine of your tiny car (around 65 kW). It’s similarly easy to calculate the energy from solar panels on your roof compared to that generated by your fossil-fuel-fired furnace (around 45 kW for a modest house) and realise, off the top, that solar doesn’t work as an alternative energy source. Sure, you can crank through all the conversion factors among legacy units such as horsepower, British Thermal Units, and the like, but you lose the intuition of having everything in the same units. This is why it’s only Americans who talk about solar powered cars: they just can’t do the math in their heads.

    • #15
    • December 28, 2014, at 5:52 PM PST
    • Like
  16. John Walker Contributor

    Pleated Pants Forever:

    John Walker:If you want to use archaic units, fine. But just pick one and stick with it.

    Units confusion can be expensive.

    JW – this is the problem with you science types. It’s my God given right to use gallons, cups, and hogsheads all to describe the same thing

    You’re free to use it.

    Before the metric system, it was considered normal to use different units of volume to measure milk, water, honey, wine, etc. because they’d always been measured in those units. It was a genuine revolution to accept that volume and mass were independent of what was being measured.

    • #16
    • December 28, 2014, at 5:55 PM PST
    • Like
  17. GLDIII Temporarily Essential Reagan
    GLDIII Temporarily EssentialJoined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    John Walker:An average person walks about 5 km in one hour on level ground.

    In the public affairs commentary of a recent NASA rocket launch, I heard velocities cited in:

    • feet per second,
    • (statute) miles per hour, and
    • kilometres per hour

    and altitudes given in:

    • statute miles,
    • nautical miles, and
    • kilometres

    If you want to use archaic units, fine. But just pick one and stick with it.

    Units confusion can be expensive.

     John

    I did not even have to open your hyperlink and I knew what you were going to reference. I remember that fiasco well since the replacement mission swiped a piece of “my” thermal hardware from the instrument I was in the mists of developing. JPL used some lame excuse to “reprioritize” my detector cooler for their PMIRR instrument.

    As for the units idiocy, I blame the mechanical designers. I have generated a whole set of buggered units (like W/in-C) because they refuse to work in native metric. When they are force to “metricize” you can tell they just wash it through some converter since you get odd ball dimensions for the interface drawing, et al.

    It has taken almost 30 years, but with the better availability of metric AN and other metric flight qualified fasteners (and the passing of us dinosaurs) we are slowly joining the rest of the world w.r.t the metric system.

    III

    • #17
    • December 28, 2014, at 6:17 PM PST
    • Like
  18. ST Inactive

    John Walker:An average person walks about 5 km in one hour on level ground.

    In the public affairs commentary of a recent NASA rocket launch, I heard velocities cited in:

    • feet per second,
    • (statute) miles per hour, and
    • kilometres per hour

    and altitudes given in:

    • statute miles,
    • nautical miles, and
    • kilometres

    If you want to use archaic units, fine. But just pick one and stick with it.

    Units confusion can be expensive.

    Damn dude. Is there anything that you don’t know?

    • #18
    • December 28, 2014, at 7:49 PM PST
    • Like
  19. Profile Photo Member

    Simon,

    You liked my comment. Don’t even think that you can out worst me this year. Stick to walking with your cane.

    • #19
    • December 28, 2014, at 7:51 PM PST
    • Like
  20. Profile Photo Member

    10 cents:Simon,

    You liked my comment. Don’t even think that you can out worst me this year. Stick to walking with your cane.

    You’re treading on very shaky ground here, Your Royal Titheness; careful, or you’ll become one of those SupportHose things; be nice to people who use mobility-aids…Someday, you’ll need one, just sayin’

    • #20
    • December 28, 2014, at 7:57 PM PST
    • Like
  21. Profile Photo Member

    Nanda,

    Simon don’t read this. ;-)

    • #21
    • December 28, 2014, at 8:13 PM PST
    • Like
  22. Vicryl Contessa Thatcher

    Volunteering was a big thing at my high school, and just as you suggested, Pants, there was a lot of narcissism involved. At the end of the year, the head mistress would announce the girl with the most volunteer hours, and she would given an award out. It was even something the girls put on their college applications. It was less about doing something helpful, and more about doing something helpful as long as someone was around to see it.

    • #22
    • December 28, 2014, at 8:14 PM PST
    • Like
  23. ST Inactive

    Matthew 6:2-4New King James Version (NKJV)
    Therefore, when you do a charitable deed, do not sound a trumpet before you as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, that they may have glory from men. Assuredly, I say to you, they have their reward. But when you do a charitable deed, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, that your charitable deed may be in secret; and your Father who sees in secret will Himself reward you openly.

    • #23
    • December 28, 2014, at 8:51 PM PST
    • Like
  24. Randy Webster Member

    I remember back when the feds were trying to get everyone to switch to the metric system, I bought a 4″ paintbrush that was also listed as something like 102.3 mm.

    • #24
    • December 28, 2014, at 8:56 PM PST
    • Like
  25. Probable Cause Inactive

    400 meters…

    300 meters…

    Speak American, Kowaslski!

    Sorry sir. 218 yards…

    (From Penguins of Madagascar)

    • #25
    • December 28, 2014, at 9:04 PM PST
    • Like
  26. Profile Photo Member

    Simon,

    That is why I wear a sock. It confuses my left hand.

    • #26
    • December 28, 2014, at 9:14 PM PST
    • Like
  27. profdlp Inactive

    Alright, I’m in. Is the inimitable Mr. Lileks going to lead us in a little Casablanca Tango while we’re there?

    http://www.lileks.com/store/casablanca/index.html

    • #27
    • December 28, 2014, at 10:53 PM PST
    • Like
  28. Chris Williamson Inactive

    Every year I walk-run in the Metric Marathon in my hometown. I avoid charities; there’s no telling if I’ll make it all the way, so why disappoint?

    What’s so great about the metric marathon? Twenty-six kilometers is about ten miles less than a real marathon, and when I tell people I ran it, they think it’s some kind of geek run, but it’s still impressive because it’s a marathon — for a short while, until someone asks what it really means.

    • #28
    • December 29, 2014, at 1:55 AM PST
    • 1 like
  29. Gazpacho Grande' Coolidge

    Al Sparks:I’ve commented on this before online (not on Ricochet). I hate it.

    The upshot is, you’re asking donations for whatever, because you are going to work really, really hard at accomplishing nothing.

    I’m still waiting, but I’d like to see someone come up to me and say that if he or she donates ?? hours of time to a food line to feed impoverished people or donated time in a homeless would I like to donate to the charity of that someone’s choice?

    I’ll gladly do that for someone who’s donating time to Meals on Wheels, or someone who is simply mowing a lawn for a shut-in.

    But for someone who shaved their head? NOTHING.

    Here’s the thing: If you have a 5k run for a group of cancer survivors, and their friends and family all show up, and run/walk, and hang out together for a few hours on a Saturday morning, and donations are collected, and some tears of joy and sadness are shed, then yeah, ok, I can see how it’s like a really selfish thing to do.

    At a minimum, these events raise some awareness, a little bit of money, and help people know they’re not alone. So I can see how nauseating they are.

    • #29
    • December 29, 2014, at 3:16 AM PST
    • Like
  30. Larry3435 Member

    And, driving on the Autobahn at 130 km/hr just feels so cool.

    • #30
    • December 29, 2014, at 6:09 AM PST
    • Like

Comments are closed because this post is more than six months old. Please write a new post if you would like to continue this conversation.