Running: The half, again

Posted: March 24, 2014

Last week, I wrote about a movement to change the name of the half-marathon. I'm not the only one who has an opinion, because a lot of you e-mailed me suggestions, admonishments, or vows to leave things as they are.

Patty Beaman of Bensalem, who has run three half-marathons and one marathon, suggested "triskaidekathon," getting the "triskaideka" from the word triskaidekaphobia, which is the fear of 13. She admitted that might be hard to remember - and pronounce - so she also suggested "tridecathons."

Mark Mangan from Philadelphia suggested either the baker's dozen run or the baker's dozen marathon in honor of the race length of 13.1 miles. "Or, another name for a baker's dozen is rough rider's dozen, so how about 'rough riders run?' " he wrote.

Randi Klazmer of Holland who has run the Philadelphia Half Marathon four times, got her idea for a name change from a shirt she once saw at a race expo with the slogan "13.1 Respect the Distance."

"It meant a lot to me since I've only done half-marathons and full marathons," she wrote. "So my suggestion is that we rename the half-marathon the respect distance."

Barry Brady of Marlton suggests doing something completely different: knocking the .1 mile off the race distance, and renaming it the "13M." The reasoning? "Let's take back the mile marker from the international kilometer crowd," he wrote.

But not everyone wanted the name to change, including Evan Meyer of Philadelphia, who ran the Philadelphia Distance Run.

"Any race can be diminished by comparing it with some longer or more difficult task, and there are plenty of those," he wrote. "It used to be that the marathon itself was considered the ultimate accomplishment. Now there are ultras, Ironman competitions, folks who run a marathon a day for a year, those who have done a marathon on every continent, people who run marathons in tutus while juggling. I don't think anyone has ever run a marathon up and down Mount Everest while carrying a sherpa on their back and simultaneously knitting a replica of the Taj Mahal, but it's only a matter of time."

(Though he did add that there is, in fact, a marathon on Mount Everest. There's also a 60K ultramarathon there, too.)

Bruce Dombrowski of Winslow Township is running his first half-marathon in May - the Marine Corps Historic Half. "No matter what the name, when I cross that finish line, I believe I will feel proud that I accomplished something I've never done before," he wrote. "And if the United States Marines call it a half, then that's good enough for me."

Do I think the change will name anytime soon? No, not really. The half-marathon is more popular than ever, which means we'd need a hard shove to rename names of all of those 13.1-mile races. I think the tendency to say "just the half" is going to be habit - among runners and non-runners - as long as the name stays that way.

But, as Klazmer wrote, we need to respect the distance, not only because undertraining for a half-marathon will hurt, but because finishing one is an accomplishment.


Racing Schedule


Billy Mock Foundation "Simply Helping Others" 8th annual 5K run, 1-mile walk, 2 p.m. Ridley Creek State Park. Registration at picnic area 11 at 1 p.m. or


The Back on My Feet 5-Miler presented by AT&T, 8 a.m. Start: West River Drive. Race supports Back on My Feet Philadelphia's mission. Register at Registration: $35 to March 16. Late registration: $40 March 17-26. Race day: $45. Twitter: @BoMF5Miler, Facebook: Instagram: @BoMFPhilly

19th Annual Bucks 5K Series, Y Run CBF YMCA 5K, Doylestown. 5:30 p.m.,

Richie's Run/Erins Gift of Hope,5K

9 a.m., Williamstown High, 700 N. Tuckahoe Rd., Williamstown. Fee: $25 pre, $30 post, $75 family entry.

9th Annual 5K Race for Humanity Walk/Run, 9 a.m., University of the Sciences in Philadelphia, benefits Youth Service Inc., 43d Street & Woodland Avenue. Onsite registration begins at 7:30. Fee: Adult $20, 14-and-under, $10, prior to March 17. Race day: $25/$12. Register at

March 30

These Boobs Are Made for Walkin' 4-mile run, 10 a.m., walk, 10:15. On-site registration 9-9:45 a.m. Rowan Rec Center Front Patio, Rowan University, Glassboro. Fee: pre $25, then $30. Team $15/person (min. 4), then $20/person. Benefits Central&South Jersey Affiliate of Susan G. Komen for the CureĀ®.

John Gentile Memorial Scholarship 5K, 9 a.m., Washington Lake Park, 626 Hurffville-Cross Keys Rd., Sewell. Fee: $25 pre, $30 post, $60 family entry (4 entries).

Erin Sullivan 5K, 9 a.m., Galloway, N.J. Fee: $20. Richard Stockton College. Benefits Erin Sullivan, who is recovering from a spinal cord injury.

Ocean Drive Marathon, 10 Mile, 5K, 1.5-mile fun run, 9 a.m., Sea Isle City, 450 Bay Ave. Fee: $30-$100 depending on event. Marathon course is on barrier islands of Cape May County, N.J.

2d Annual O'Hara Leprechaun Run,Fun Run and KidsDash, 5K Run/Walk:

10 a.m. Cardinal O'Hara H.S. Register (click on events tab)/ Race-day registration: Begins at 9 a.m.

April 5

"Fourth Spring Run" 6K cross-country run at the Institute Woods. Princeton Friends School, 470 Quaker Rd., Princeton. Check-in at 8:45 a.m. 6K starts at 10. Limited to 150 participants. Walkers are welcome. Anyone expecting to take longer than 50 minutes should arrive by 9:30 a.m. Online preregistration only, until March 22: $30 including T-shirt, after $35. Discount for no-shirt option. Questions:

April 6

19th Annual Bucks 5K Series, New Hope-Solebury Spirit Run 5K, New Hope Pa., 9:30 a.m.

Tails & Trails 5K Run/3K Walk, trail run at Main Line Animal Rescue in Chester Springs. Bring your dog to run/walk. Race: 9 a.m. Fee: $20 ($25 after April 1). Free race T-shirt while supplies last.

Kevin Cain Make My Day 5k, 3 p.m., Annunciation Parish Hall, Havertown, Pa. On-site registration opens at 1:30. Fees: 5k, 1 Mile Walk: Preregistered: Adults, $25; Kids 13&under, $10 - Plus online registration fee. Race day: Adults, $30; Kids, $15.

Art & Sole 5K Run & 1K Walk, 9 a.m., Alverthorpe Park & Abington Art Center, Abington. Fee: $27 adults, $12 (15 and under). For more info 215-887-4882 or

E-mail date, name of race, site, time and fee, plus registration information, to sports editor John Quinn at Put Running calendar in re: field.

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