There's no evidence presented that a majority or even a significant percentage of people who are rich love endurance sports, only that most of the people who love endurance sports are rich. Is there a name for this sort of statistical error? Because it's everywhere.
Let's pretend there's 10,000,000 "rich people" and 100,000 "people who love endurance sports". Easily 100% of the people who love endurance sports could be rich while it's still an insignificant percentage of rich people as a whole.
I'm going to guess that the majority of people who are competitive at any hobby are pretty well off, simply because people who are poor do not have the time or resources to practice enough to become competitive at leisure activities.
From his article:
Media carries with it a credibility that is totally undeserved. You have all experienced this, in what I call the Murray Gell-Mann Amnesia effect. (I refer to it by this name because I once discussed it with Murray Gell-Mann, and by dropping a famous name I imply greater importance to myself, and to the effect, than it would otherwise have.)
Briefly stated, the Gell-Mann Amnesia effect is as follows. You open the newspaper to an article on some subject you know well. In Murray’s case, physics. In mine, show business. You read the article and see the journalist has absolutely no understanding of either the facts or the issues. Often, the article is so wrong it actually presents the story backward—reversing cause and effect. I call these the “wet streets cause rain” stories. Paper’s full of them.
In any case, you read with exasperation or amusement the multiple errors in a story, and then turn the page to national or international affairs, and read as if the rest of the newspaper was somehow more accurate about Palestine than the baloney you just read. You turn the page, and forget what you know.
Of course it's also possible I only remember the times they get it wrong, and I don't notice the many times they get it right when writing about something I know something about, leading me to underestimate the paper's accuracy.
I'm sure somebody somewhere is willing to make up a name for that effect too.
A reporter might be good or bad at covering each topic, which leaves us four cases to consider. If they're bad at physics, they could be a specialist in Palestine, but they could also be generally incompetent; Gell-Mann has no way to tell. If they're good at physics, they could just be talented reporters, but they could also be physics specialists who don't know Palestine any better than Gell-Mann does. And once again, he has no way to tell.
Even probabilistically, we could argue for either approach. Most people aren't experts in more than one thing, and it's easier for an expert than a random fool to garner attention for a baseless claim, so perhaps we should especially distrust good physics writers on Palestine. But incompetence is broadly correlated, and journalism skills apply to both topics, so perhaps we should view bad physics writing as a sign of weak fundamentals and distrust it everywhere.
(I'm talking about reporters instead of papers, but we can push the argument back a level easily; editors have to hire reporters for fields they don't know.)
Going alone, all I can see to do is to look for people who claim to specialize in a few things, one of which you know well, and trust them on their other specialties. As a society, we can perhaps do better by asking a bunch of experts who's competent in their domain and looking for alignment - provided we can all correctly agree on some experts in advance.
edit: a bit of searching suggests this is basically Berkson's Paradox. If we (boldly) assume that news sources which are bad on all topics don't circulate, then quality in one area lowers the expectation of quality in other areas.
If they do a poor job of selecting a physics expert, then it seems likely that they will do a poor job of selecting other kinds of experts as well.
Honestly though, I'm not sure I'd call it a bias in your observation so much as a sensible assessment of sources. A source that's right about 90% of topics is still misleading you quite often. And even worse, a source that's 90% accurate about each topic can leave you almost totally ignorant; there are a lot of stories where the entire message can be destroyed by any one of numerous errors.
(And of course, there's a pithy name for that too. "O-ring theory", after the Challenger shuttle disaster, describes phenomena where everything has to go right, so the failure chance at each step is multiplicative.)
The end effect is that I tend to double check just about any source, but I still have a handful of sources that I have strong reason to believe their motives are compromised on various topics where I expect their motive to conflict with the motive to tell the truth. It's still not great though because sources rarely move up in this system and frequently move down, which leads in a general inability to find information considered trustworthy. This works fine on things where there is a general consensus because I'll be able to find a varied set of sources saying the same thing, but not so great on hotly debated topics with lots of nuance. Also sometimes my brain is lazy and I don't do any of this processing because I'm an imperfect human.
Confusion of the inverse is the assumption that the probability of A given B is equal to the probability of B given A. In symbols, the fallacy is falsely assuming P(A|B) = P(B|A). You have to use Bayes' Theorem to convert from a conditional probability to its inverse:
P(B|A)⋅P(A) = P(A|B)⋅P(B)
It happens often when people have a limited consideration set of possible causes, often due to a natural degree of ignorance or lack of experience relating to the subject matter area, e.g., a small child sees a wet sidewalk and assumes it rained, because they aren't yet aware of sprinklers (or garden hoses, etc.)
(If rain→wet sidewalk, wet sidewalk)→rain
The title alone might be clumsily restated as:
(If amateur endurance athlete→rich, rich)→amateur endurance athlete
E.g. it may be true that most criminals in an area are of a certain race; that says nothing about the probability of a single person of that race being a criminal. Same with Islamaphobia–even if most acts of terrorism were performed by Muslims (which isn’t even true!), that’d say nothing about the likelihood that a randomly chosen Muslim person you meet is a terrorist.
Edit: changed likelihood to probability
You blindly draw a ball from the bag; do you know anything about the likelihood of that ball having property X? You now inspect it and find it’s green. Do you now know anything different about that likelihood? If I offered you “pay $100 to win $900 if you drew a property X ball, with the option to double your wager after seeing the color”, you would be happy indeed to see that you’d drawn a green ball and would double your wager.
Regardless of the colors, ratios, and desirability of property X, it seems to me like you do know something new about the likelihood after learning the color.
It also seems to hold if there are 300 million balls, 10 balls with property X, and 3 of those are green, just at a strong cause to believe “this specific ball does not have property X” overall (such as the case in the people examples you gave).
- Nearly all murderers are men.
- Bob is a man.
- Therefore Bob is probably a murderer.
You are mixing logic and probability.
"its not really useful for making judgements about individuals." is not equal to "tells you nothing"
Sticking with medical examples, the first matters for "does this guy have this disease?" The second matters for "how many doses should we order?"
Or, more controversially, "how many of the doctors we train today will still be working in 30 years?" Which came up as a question regarding the increasing proportion of women in medical school. And many people were loudly offended that this might be something to take into consideration. Because they read it as the first kind of question, "will this individual...". But that's different.
Sometimes testing positive on a fairly accurate test for a very rare condition means you are still more likely to not have the condition, and even Doctors sometimes screw that logic up.
Knowing that this very rare disease affects 1 in 10_000 men, and 1 in 100_000 women, doesn't tell you that much about how to perform diagnosis on any one individual. But it does tell you accurately that the male ward probably needs 10x as many beds as the female ward.
Statistics are hard. At least for me.
Edit: also I wasn’t trying to respond directly/refute your comment. Just chiming in with a related concept.
Then we know what mix of coffins to load on the UN plane. But as a doctor on the ground, after your 99% accurate test comes back, you certainly need more information, and knowing the sex of the patient is not much help. The doctor, and the guy loading the plane, are asking very different questions.
Only if you're given the marginal probability ahead of time ;-). Marginals are usually intractable to compute, and people tend to vastly underestimate them. Priors have a similar issue: base rates for a lot of "interesting" conclusions are often really, really low (which is, in a way, why we'd be interested in estimating the posterior!).
Let's estimate the most controversial thing possible: P(criminal | black guy) = p(black guy | criminal) * p(criminal) / p(black guy).
Problem is, the prior (in all the cases I've checked) is lot smaller than the marginal (there's usually at least two orders of magnitude difference!), so even a seemingly high likelihood "washes out" in the posterior.
(In statistics, the likelihood is the probability of the data conditional on the hypothesis, so in this case the probability of being of a certain race given that one is a criminal.)
Let's say we have a group of 1000 animals:
900 rabbits and 100 foxes.
We also know that there are about 10 crimes happening every year and for every crime there's 50% chance of it being committed by a fox.
Then according to Bayes' formula:
P(fox is a criminal) = P(criminal is a fox) * P(animal is a criminal) / P(animal is a fox) = 0.5 * 0.01/0.1 = 0.05 = 5% chance for every given fox to be a criminal.
For every given rabbit the same formula gives 0.5 * 0.01/0.9 which is roughly 0.6%.
Nevertheless, if you want to find a kangaroo in a wild, heading to Australia, would probably be your best bet.
Incels have killed more people than Islamic extremists in the US in the last decade.
Research says drug usage rate is similar for black and white people in the US, but prosecution and conviction rates are not
// Assuming the police are not incompetent, of course, which may not hold in your hypothetical world where they investigate non type X people for terrorism even though they commit zero percent of terrorist attacks - probably out of some misguided diversity quota or affirmative action policy, I assume? ;)
99,999, not 999 innocents and 1:100,000, not 1:1000 (making your point stronger)
> There's a 0.001% chance of finding a terrorist per random sampling.
However, you have to remember that this is an anecdote - you don't want to throw people into boxes they don't fit.
Huh? If 10% of purple people in an area have been incarcerated, and you select one individual from the purple people population of that area at random, the odds are 10% the individual you selected will have been incarcerated. That's fundamental to how sampling works.
Instead, the situation is that 90% of those incarcerated are purple. You can’t draw any meaningful conclusions from that without knowing the number that you were referring to: what percentage of purple people that makes up.
It's basic modern media literacy to ignore the headline of the article.
Cause, you know, correlation and causation and all that.
I'd rather think that if you can run a 100K, you have the mind to overcome amazingly hard situations, and to keep trying, again and again, being in the game for a long time. Which increases your odds of success, so bigger probability to get rich in the end.
I know people who stop pursuing whatever it is they want at the first signs of discomfort or adversity. They want the good things to just happen them, and they rarely do.
I do know some people like what you're talking about too, but then again I know some people who are big into endurance sports but aren't really go-getters in other spheres either ...
Same. Although I suspect for a lot of them it's because go-getting in other spheres would impact on their ability to do the running and they're happy in their situations as they are.
My running commitment amounted to something less than ten hours per week. Now according to Wikipedia, the American average for TV watching in 2017 was about 28 hours/week. I have no idea what it was in 1982, but at even half the rate, I spent less time running than my average fellow citizen spent in front of the tube.
Time watching TV is not time spent sitting "in front of the tube". People cook, eat, clean the dishes, iron clothes, play with their kids, while the TV is on. If you are running, you can't be doing anything else.
Also, some of my running time amounted to commuting: knock 45 minutes off the 90 minute run. Running can be a social activity. Those who care to can run listening to their iPods (then, Walkmans). Etc.
Not being rich isn't the same thing as being poor, or being blue collar. Most of us being knowledge workers, have advantages beyond earning power.
Hades, not hadeys.
> According to the Census Bureau, the average wealthy household (defined by the IRS as the top 20% of income earners in the US) worked five times as many hours as the average poor household. The cause? Single-parent households and high unemployment among poor households. 
Although I imagine they may spend less time doing household chores or running errands
I'm married, my wife and I work fairly typical 40-45 hour weeks. So, 80-90 for the household.
My son is single. He works the same 40-45 hours. But, by the metric above, my household works twice as much. Sure, we literally do, but we have twice the manpower and twice the income. And still have the same amount of leisure time per person.
0 - https://www.theatlantic.com/business/archive/2016/09/the-fre...
Time is a fixed quantity for poorer people. If you don't show up to your 8AM Walmart job on time, you'll get chewed out.
But if you're a senior VP, you can move meetings around to fit your schedule.
First, the article doesn't appear to talking about actual rich people (billionaires, etc) but upper-middle-class white-collar people (i.e., they still have a day job and can't live off savings & interest). But, we can call them rich to keep it easy.
In a literal sense, rich people have more time, as they tend to live longer than poor people.
In the sense of day-to-day free time, I'd argue rich people have more. Both in absolute terms - they rarely have to work two jobs, though they might do occasional OT. And in their ability to time-shift work obligations. Take a software dev - typically they have flexible work hours, might have some ability to schedule their own meetings, and nobody blinks if they duck out early once a week for a long run/ride/whatever.
That sounds totally compatible with the article being titled "Why Do Rich People Love Endurance Sports?".
It doesn't have to be most or all of rich liking endurance sports. It's enough that endurance sports are mostly liked by the rich.
The article is not titled "Why do MOST/ALL rich people love endurance sports".
In other words, X doesn't need to be a characteristic of most rich to ask "why are rich drawn to X" -- it just has to draw more rich than non-rich.
You might as well ask "Why do rich people love helicopter skiing?" I'm sure everyone that does that is pretty rich, but probably most rich people don't do it. I'm sure there's a ton of not-rich people who would also enjoy it, but they simply can't afford to do it.
That doesn't follow. If 1% of rich people do X, and only 0.0001% of non-rich do it, then X is very much a trait of rich people. It's not of most/all rich people, but it is predominantly of rich people.
In that way and in that context it's a "passable" statement.
Don't view everyday life and sentences through the narrow lens of mathematics/logic. If you're lucky that'll make for some dinner conversation, if you're unlucky you'll just be annoying.
"I know this must be leaking because it smells." is fine in an everyday context, even if not strictly and always true.
If I wrote “why are wealthy people over represented in endurance sports” would you be ok with it?
If say ... 1% of the population is wealthy but 20% of participants in marathons are ... that would be potentially of statistical interest, no?
Although farmers do seem to be overrepresented in marathon skating.
The % of rich people who enjoy endurance sports tends to be pretty high. The % of people in endurance sports that are rich tends to be pretty low, triathletes excluded because triathlons are #$#@$ expensive and so that population is cash-gated.
Yes. It's called not understanding Bayes' theorem. Bayes' theorem is precisely about how the probability of "B, given A" (P[B|A]) relates to the probability of "A, given B" (P[A|B]). In our case, that would be "rich, given love for endurance sports" =/= "love for endurance sports, given rich". It is immediately obvious from Bayes' equation that the two are, in general, not the same.
There are extreme examples like https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2019/jan/07/need-to-sign... , but of course we've all heard of the conditions in Amazon warehouses.
Less extreme examples which are "just working class / not rich" are all the retail jobs which involve standing most of the day, shelf-stacking, anything in hospitality, anything in construction, and so on.
Let me explain: If I am 30 made a big exit and now need a new hobby it is pretty easy to make steady progress in marathon running. I will probably not become a world-class marathon runner, but top 100 of a big event is in my reach. Still hard but possible.
If start with basketball, soccer or track and field I will probably not be competitive on a local level. Every sport with difficult techniques will be very much harder to learn.
Also, you lose endurance ability slower as you age than short term power. So you can still be pretty good at marathon in your 50s, while you would be useless at the 100 yard dash or hitting home runs.
Need a source on this.
> So you can still be pretty good at marathon in your 50s, while you would be useless at the 100 yard dash or hitting home runs.
But not relative to your peers, which is what everyone compares to unless you're top 3 overall in any given race.
I have a gut feeling, the next fitness trend will be running faster vs running farther.
Is that not something that varies per person? I've always been terrible at endurance but decent at short term power, and now that I'm training a bit, it seems I'm mostly getting more power, but not really more endurance. Not for horrible things like running, at least.
I hit that wall right away. There are few exercises I find more boring than running. I did run with a couple of friends for a short period, because I felt I didn't see them nearly enough, and this was a nice way to see them more often and get some exercise at the same time. I hope that meeting my friends would make me more motivated. We still couldn't keep it up.
The only time when I can really run is when I think an emergency might be threatening my youngest kid. I think I could beat Usain Bolt in that situation. It's definitely mental.
I remember reading an article in the New Yorker about a retreat where people would go to participate in extended fasts. It struck me you need to come from abundance for the idea of recreational starvation to be appealing, and I think something similar could be said for sports like running, where punishment and self-denial are nearly an aim in themselves.
Another article I'm reminded of is "How the Other Half Lifts". There the author muses on cultural differences between strength and endurance sports. He suggests that upper middle class Americans favor endurance sports as a way to demonstrate "moral character, self-control, and self-development, rather than physical dominance." (My impression is that weight lifting has enjoyed something of a renaissance in recent years, though.)
I think there are two kinds of sports, ones that require you to compete against somebody else to win and ones that allow you to win by simply pushing your limits. You can't win a game of soccer by playing alone, this is the nature of the sport, but you can win a 10k run by simply beating your previous best.
This being said, if you lack the talent or previously acquired skills to be good at a direct competition sport, your best bet for winning, as per above definition, is to pick up an endurance sport.
As weight lifting goes, I know plenty of rich people that do that. Yet they don't tend to do it until they get huge, they do it to be a bit more in shape. Basically, they set their own rule for what winning means and they are crushing it.
I've never heard somebody refer to this as "winning". Beating a PR, sure, but not winning. At least in the triathlon scene, that I'm most familiar with, in order to "win" you have to beat other people.
More anecdotally while I’m sure there are people in tech who golf, it’s pretty much invisible from my perspective—may still see it in sales here and there-/and fun runs (or yoga) are what you see as active conference activities. I could name tons of people who run among my tech contacts. I couldn’t name one who I know golfs.
Obviously, any sport can be played against opponents, but some don't have to. And I believe most wealthy people have to compete against human opponents most of the time and are inclined to pick "easier" to win sports when it comes to doing it for fun.
That would explain all the rich skateboarders then :-)
As you probably know, endurance running requires a significant time commitment. Anyone training for a marathon needs to run several hours a week. I suspect that affluent people have more leisure time, and that it can be more conveniently arranged to match a runner's schedule.
It also requires a not-insignificant investment in nutrition. Less affluent people in the US already have trouble eating healthy food--training for a marathon could increase the required food intake by about 30%, which would have a meaningful impact on household budgets.
Finally, blue-collar workers are less likely to have pent-up physical energy. It's likely that they've already spent all day on their feet, and would rather invest their leisure time in a less physically demanding activity. White-collar workers have been sitting in a chair all day, and the ones who don't get into endurance sports (or similar) are likely to become obese.
Obviously, all of the above is based purely on wild conjecture, but it doesn't seem implausible.
Running is damned near the cheapest sport you can choose to pursue. You need trainers, a road and plenty of carbs. If you can't afford to run, you probably can't afford to do much of anything. American culture has turned it into a bourgeois pursuit, but that's absolutely not the case in many other countries.
I'd bet the same would apply to most US too if you wouldn't purpusefully dress like a "rich runner"... (or go the other extreme and end up looking like a home robber on the run form the police :P).
Women running are at risk for sexual assault, but this is less correlated with "bad neighborhoods".
Or access to a treadmill.
I (a man) feel uncomfortable walking, let alone running, in any neighborhood, safe or not. A man walking/running in a more upper-middle class neighborhood (or manicured gated community) always attracts attention and someone's bound to call the cops on you "just to be on the safe side" :) Safer to whiz by in your car and lift weights in your garage.
Like, I can't even fathom a situation where I would be worried about walking somewhere just in case someone calls the police on me. That's crazy.
I’ve been stopped/checked out by police while walking with friends late at night in small towns, but running (in running clothes) seems to put one beyond suspicion.
More concretely: are there places in big cities in the USA where you should be very cautious walking around at night? Absolutely. But the exact same thing applies in London and Manchester too. Robbery is an issue there too.
To some extent, people in the USA just make a bigger deal out of it. You'll also find that when Americans discuss travel abroad they're also very worried about safety. IMO it's a cultural mentality more than the specific realities of specific places.
Running is the most affordable sport. It requires nothing. So you're correct that pro-running effects in wealthy areas can't explain why runners are affluent; you have to explain it by anti-running effects among poorer people. (Such as "why would I do that?")
To the ancient Greeks, racing was the most prestigious of all sporting events, because it was felt to be the most traditional. If that were still true for us, poor people would probably run a lot more than they do.
The article is about competitive endurance running specifically. Competitive running requires quite a lot of time for training and then regeneration. It is pretty hard on body - meaning time needed for regeneration and healing injuries and also it requires proper food. Meaning, if you work night shifts or lift weight in work you have disadvantage. We can come destroyed into office and take it easy for a day if I trained too much. People who actually compete in those marathons often get sick right after race, which is something a rich person cares about less then poor one.
Add to it network effect and it becomes pretty clear why rich would do it more then poor.
This reminds me of camping which seems to be primarily a first world/affluent pursuit, at least imho.
Really? I see it as the exact opposite based on my experience - people go camping because it's the far cheaper alternative than staying at a hotel. You can get a tent pitch for close to nothing, hand-me-down family tent and suddently staying for 2 weeks with your family on a Croatian coast doesn't seem impossible anymore.
Like, I always said that if I had the money I'd just stay at a hotel, camping is something you do if you're poor. Obviously nowadays that notion has changed for me seeing as you can spend a lot of money on camping equipment(and people still do), but at the end of the day, your super fancy 1000 euro tent is still standing on a 3 euro/day pitch next to a family that brought 3 kids in their 1992 VW Passat and they are holidaying for close to nothing next to you - not that there is anything wrong with that, that's how my childhood holidays looked like.
For that goal, I like calisthenics. Push ups, pull ups, bodyweight squats, planks, that kind of stuff. It's extremely cheap (only needs a pullup bar) and can be done anywhere, even when traveling. I can't think of a cheaper sport, I don't even need a pair of trainers.
As an upper middle class runner, I can definitely agree with that statement. At times, I feel like my habits of running give me a little bit of an edge over my peers at some level.
Another HUGE factor is age. Rich people tend to be older. Older people can do endurance much easier than say, combat sports.
What a peculiar thing to say. You can get caught in a rip tide swimming in the sea, collapse from heat exhaustion while running, any number of things.
never worry about taking a kick to the temple
In MMA which I assume you are referencing the ref can stop the fight instantly and there’s always a fully equipped hospital a short drive away. It’s massively safer than an ultramarathon or a full triathlon and that’s even before you get to the self-navigating and self-supporting stuff.
You also may think that long distance running is simple and pure and has a low barrier to entry. But take a look at the money that has gone into the shoes, clothes, specialist accessories and bags, travelling to races, paying entry fees, and so on that a dedicated runner spends their money on.
I also think that the more someone focuses on money the more they generally feel like they have something to prove. Endurance sports are a, relatively, accessible way of demonstrating excellence in something.
A couple of years back, one of my colleagues worked part time as he came from a wealthy family. Work was more of a hobby for him, like 1-2 days per week. For me, the money I made from work was something real. I needed to do it and did it 6 days weekly. Work days for me was much harder because I needed the work and money. My days were also much longer.
We both signed up for a marathon and he was able to improve much faster and run much faster in the end. I had to stop training because I injured my feet. Why? He had more rest days and then to recover and train. On the other hand, I already stood a lot during the day and injured my feet during one of my runs. I also had much less energy to train after working so much each day.
Depends where you are, I suppose. In South East England, there's fairly frequent 6h challenge races where you can ultra if you're quick enough and they're pretty cheap (~£40).
That said, iff you run two marathons a year and don't care which ones you do you can probably do it for < $1k a year.
* Join Parkrun, free weekly timed 5k runs almost anywhere in the UK and in many other countries. Open to all abilities, and there are tail-walkers for all runs so you literally cannot finish last!
* More serious? Join a running club. Subscriptions will be ~£50 per year, include (lots!) of training, track access, free entry to many races throughout the year and reduced price entry to all others (via your included UK Athletics membership).
* Find cheap runs (non-commercial), e.g. those run by the Sri Chinmoy Marathon team, which only cost ~£5 to enter. Many other such races around the country can be found via Run Britain.
Of course, all you need to run is a pair of trainers, weather-appropriate clothing (doesn't have to be running gear) and motivation to get out the door. The great thing about running is you can do it anywhere.
I've run plenty and it cost me exactly $0 in fees.
None of that's necessary, of course, but if you think of it as "150 dollars per year" invested in the sport, rather than "a really expensive day doing the same thing you have been doing", the fees don't seem like all that much.
For me, those fees are motivation: I don't want to fail or look stupid at something I paid to do. Stupid, I know, but it's kind of a dumb event anyway. I'd be in overall better shape if I didn't run 26 miles in October and then take two weeks off to recover.
I'd feel weird about it: they put a lot of effort into closing the roads, coordinating volunteers, getting the water ready, etc. But if I were broke I'd probably put that aside.
* entry fee < 200
* airfare < 500
* hotel x 2 days < 300
* food x 2 days < 100
So if you try hard you can break $1000. I don't count shoes because you use them for months, not one event.
One the other hand if you live in Chicago the cost goes down to entry fee (I think marathon entry fees are insanely high though), and if you're a member of a local running club you can often even get around that.
For my first marathon, my training was a half marathon the month previous and my training for that was zero (signed up 3 days before.) Now I'll concede it wasn't fast by any means (5h35) but you absolutely do not need to do 80km/week for marathon running if you're going to be in the 4h30-6h timeframe (and, indeed, most of the extreme runners I know don't do any training because they're averaging 50+ marathons a year and there's just no damn time for anything else.)
> I think you are minimizing the effort many people put into training
Nah. Just pointing out that people who say "you must do 80km a week to run a marathon" are talking gibberish. If they added "sub-3", sure, I'd accept that as probably valid (although I know people who do sub-3 without 80km a week.)
Like I keep saying, it's all anecdata and there's no hard and fast rules yet people insist on pontificating as if there are.
I hope you are't honestly try to claim I'm diminishing an achievement while simultaneously talking about how easy it is to do.
> Just pointing out that people who say "you must do 80km a week to run a marathon" are talking gibberish
Literally nobody has said this.
Equipment wise, you don't need to pay 100$ for shoes. There are many <300$ shoes from the last season (last year model) on discount pretty much all year round for 60$-80$. I burn 3 pairs of shoes a year, and even though I could afford expensive shoes, I pretty much always end up finding the ones I want for 70$ somewhere online.
Running belts price varies (from $10 to "as much as you want to pay"), but they are a one time investment. I bought a nice neopren one once, and it will probably outlive my children. If you are running enough to be able to "just go and run a marathon", chances are that you already have a running belt to carry a mobile phone, keys, id, money, gels, water, etc. They are just insanely useful.
I run around 8 hours / week, and my expenses are around 300$ per year. Some years I've paid a bit more, e.g. got a heart rate monitor for 30$, running ear phones for 80$, headlight ~20$, I don't have a running watch yet.., nice running shorts and shirts (couple of 100$s), etc. I've also gone to some races, but I've never paid more than 15-20$ for them. You can do half-marathons and marathons for that money, and some of them are non-profit, so you could deduce that from your taxes if it was worth your time. Also, most races typically give you running tshirts, gloves, and what not as a "finisher" gift.
Honestly, factoring the time I've spent running during my lifetime, and the money I've spent over the last 10 years, it's by far the cheapest hobby I have.
EDIT: That might be a lie. My absolute cheapest hobby is actually swimming. Swim shorts for 20-30$, swim googles for 5-10$, and an annual membership on a masters team (120$/year for 6h of swimming / week, where I only actually end up using 2-4 h). Swim short and googles need replacing only every couple of years, so swimming costs me around 150$/year for about half or a quarter of the hours I spend running / week.
Swimming and running, compared with my other hobbies, are negligibly cheap. I go snowboarding for 2 weeks a year, and that cost me ~2000$ + maintaining my equipment (I basically end up spending ~300-600$ on snowboarding equipment / year). I go cycling with my gf every now and then but not enough to make a 2000$ road bike + equipment cheap. And well I have a motorbike because I want to and that also costs multiple 1000$s dollars per year, I don't even want to know how much.
So yeah, swimming, running, calisthenics, etc. are damn cheap sports. You don't need to spend 1000$s/year on these. If you are tight on money you can probably manage 20h of fun per week by spending ~300$ per year without issues. Obviously, if you want 1-on-1 crossfit training wearing fashionable clothes wearing a go pro and drinking avocado toast kale smoothies you are going to end up paying a lot, but that's not necessary at all.
Outside of that silly aside, running competitively requires running in competitions, and these range into the couple hundred dollar range per run. This is a tough barrier for someone on the low socio-economic ladder. Sure, a dedicated poor person can make it work, but that barrier is practically nil for someone well off.
Of course you can just go and run. No argument there. Training is "free" if you have the time. But most events cost money, and that is where the endurance activity becomes an endurance sport.
8 years ago I bought random New Balance shoes for $65 (New Balance, model MT573 -- just looked up an exact email from Zappos). I've been using them exclusively as my only "gym" shoes for 7 years: I've ran half-marathon in them 2 years ago, I did weightlifting, crossfit, and tennis in them. I regularly exercise 3+ times a week (sometimes more), so I'd estimate that I've logged 1000-1500 miles (~1500-2250km) in them. Sure, they are a little worn out by now, but they are absolutely good to go. And I'm 200-220lbs (~90-100kg).
But long time ago when I was running in high school I've had some other random cheap shoes  that I've used for 4+ years. During that time I've been running regularly 3-4 times a week for 10km @ ~40-45min. In warm season I was running in random cotton shorts and a random oversized cotton t-shirt. In cold season I (everyone) was wearing long johns under the track suit and this was it. My father grew up in Seberia doing cross country skiing in way harsher weather wearing something similar.
So yeah ... in my experience running as a hobby is ridiculously cheap.
 This was in early 2000s in Ukraine, everyone was poor here, so I'm pretty sure those shoes couldn't cost more than ~$20, which was still a lot for my family.
For what it's worth, $100 spent as disposable income is not really affordable for a huge percentage of the economically-not-well population. In other words, $100 is a lot of money for a lot of people.
I'm in the US, countries with real healthcare might be different.
As well, it takes money to have somewhere close to your house that's safe to run through.
Once you have the basics covered, running is easy to get into and cheap. But if you don't have middle-class basics, it takes an investment,
I probably have several hundred US dollars worth of running stuff on hand at any time. Sure, I could just throw on an old pair of shoes, but I'd freeze or injure myself right quick and that would end up being even more expensive. Running once in good conditions is cheap. Running continuously in all kinds of conditions is less so.
After a few years as I had more experience, ran faster (and warmer), these issues mostly disappeared. Nowadays on winter I only run with shorts, a thin hard-shell, and thin shoes (sometimes five-fingers) with temps of -5C. Some days get much colder (e.g. -10 or -15 C) but when I've used some of the warm clothes I used in the first couple of years of running they've always felt too warm. The only thing that's still an issue is running in the dark. Independently of whether I know the trail, have a head-lamp, etc. I run slower in the dark than during the day, except on the track. So now when its dark, I always go to a running track to run. Most of them have lights on till late, and some schools, most universities, etc. have one and they let you use it for free.
I guess it would be nice if I could run wearing less, but I honestly don't think it would be safe for me. Your mileage obviously does vary. ;) As it is, I have winter shirts, undershirts, and socks that are all different brands, and I am keenly aware of which ones are better at which temperatures. There's a bit of an art to wearing exactly the right level of gear for the conditions, and I've simply had to become good at it.
1° it's more than 12-15°C outside : shorts and short sleeves
2° it's less than 12-15°C : long tights and long sleeves
3° it's less than 5°C : add cap, gloves and microfibre top to the previous set.
4° it's raining: I'm not made of sugar :)
5° it's heavily raining : I wear a cheap rain poncho, it's fine.
All my sport wear is the cheapest stuff from Decathlon, 5 euros shirts, etc. The rest of my gear probably cost me less than 150 euros and I've been using all the same gear (but socks and shorts) for 10 years, it doesn't wear out much.
I wear the exact same socks and shoes and short-sleeved running t-shirt whatever the weather is. I only use one sort of anti-friction stuff: 3M tegaderm. Exactly 1 square cm2 of it on each breast. A roll lasts a couple of years or so. I threw away a pair of shorts that hurt me at the thighs. I don't carry any money or phone or anything but my home key, in the small pocket all shorts and tights have. I don't carry water either, because I don't run more than 2 hours straight anyway, I drink before and after and that's fine.
I had a couple of injuries after turning 45 but it's nothing gear-related, really.
Above 5C: normal/light gear
0 to 5C: add light beanie and gloves
-5 to 5C: add long-sleeved shirt (over compression T) and tights
-10 to -5C: jacket instead of shirt, warmer gloves
-15 to -10C: balaclava-style mask instead of beanie
Below -15C: just don't
I'll often go "down" a level if it's windy and/or moist, "up" half a level if it's an unusually short/fast run. The main thing is that as long as I wear the right gear I actually prefer winter running. It's quiet, it's scenic, and I have control over my heat level. What I really hate is the hot humid days of summer, which I can't do anything about.
That sounds right for water, but definitely not true for snow. I don't run when it's deep on the ground, but even a little can splash onto the uppers and then soak through. It's like running through shallow puddles half the time, not fording a stream. I know from experience - maybe a thousand miles of running in New England winters over the last few years - that Gore Tex and similar barrier fabrics avoid that problem quite well.
Those same shoes usually come with high-traction soles (both materials and tread pattern) which are also essential in those conditions. And of course they're warmer. Winter running in summer shoes would be a recipe for freezing, blisters, or injury around here.
It would also be remiss to not mention the health and longevity type benefits. Health and energy, after 60 to 90 minutes of cardio, I’m charged up for the rest of the day, with or without coffee
Taking one marathon I've done, shoes (which get used a lot) were £110 (because I have wide feet and have to buy Hoka/Altra); travel was £40 (train to the coast) + £4 (Brompton hire); accommodation was £90 (B&B); entry was £40; kit was about £40; £324 total. If I had a car, I could have swapped £134 of that for about £30 in petrol. The shoes and kit will last for at least a year and should be amortised.
You could probably do a marathon for £130 all told. Which is not nothing but it's a pretty low barrier to entry when you consider the cost of other sports.
> so on that a dedicated runner spends their money on
Anecdata: I know a lot of dedicated runners (50+ marathons/ultras a year, etc.) and almost none of them spend money on specialist accessories, bags, shoes, kit, etc.
- Race fee $86.40
- Extra food/coffee: $79.90
- Extra laundry: $25
- Transportation & lodging: $95
... some of it was very individual or easily avoidable on a budget...
- Gym membership: $130.50
- Pet car: $50
- Sports massages: $210
- Post-race celebrations: $163.46
... and the rest just seemed a bit excessive/unnecessary...
- Gear: $578.80
- "Running fuel": $19.90
A Mcdonalds breakfast will only cost you £5. Surprisingly common pre-race fuel for a lot of people I know who run marathons...
> - Gear: $578.80
Yeah, if you're buying an entire new set of gear for every marathon, I suppose it'll cost a lot. Although I'm struggling to see how you get to $578 (~£440) even splurging on expensive shoes and kit.
I think the $80 figure came from the total increase in the cost of groceries over the 18 week training period.
> I'm struggling to see how you get to $578
Me too. Apparently this was the cost of:
> two pairs of shoes, another pair of long winter tights, plus two new pairs of capri tights and two new pairs of shorts, a handful of new shirts, a new tank and visor to wear on race day ... a pair of ski mittens to wear over my regular running gloves during bitter cold training.
It didn't include a GPS watch, which she already possessed.
I've lifted weights for years, and it does not have this effect.
Running, to me, is not "lost time". It's very productive time.
If I want to spend an hour running six miles, nobody would deny me that.
Certain activities, including physical exertion, driving, and flying, force conscious attention to the present moment, and easily produce a “flow state”.
Of course, you can also produce that state with meditation, sex, and many other activities, but it typically requires more skill and intention.
My interpretation is that endurance sports are a straightforward way to induce pleasurable states of being for an extended duration, and these pleasurable states of being are actually statistically rarer in many wealthy people.
Personally... I like to be outside and doing something active, and I love to explore and see new places.
Now, I'm not rich but I'm definitely comfortably to the right on the curve, so to speak. However, I've noticed something in the groups I ride with: the vast middle of the faster, strong riders are on equipment that's all about the same level, give or take a few things.
It's usually mid-grade frames from major brands sporting Ultegra or Force, so probably a $3,000US bike.
This is true if the rider is, like me, a middle-aged person with significant disposable income, or a genuine millionaire, or a just-out-of-school teacher. Some of these bikes were doubtless purchased used, but still.
A few folks upgrade; the most common bump is carbon wheels, followed by electronic shifting. Both make a difference, but neither are required to ride at the level we're riding at. And yeah, the very serious or very rich do splash out for nicer gear, but there are always outliers.
It's not entirely on point, but I thought it was interesting anyway.
No amount of go-faster equipment will substitute for youth and training, but the middle-aged amateurs with pro-grade gear like to dream and help to sustain the cycling economy by doing so.
The strongest folks I know are on good, well maintained bikes of about the class I mentioned. Most don't have the cash to upgrade frequently. Plus, most of us at this level are too picky about components to be happy with a factory build anymore, so you end up with upgrades on your bike until your bike is a new bike. LOL.
I don't actually see a lot of that. I think a good chunk of why is climate here -- shit just wears out faster in the heat. There is a sense of bride in faded Rapha, though. (Guilty)
For myself, I've always been really opposed to showing up for any hobby where my gear vastly exceeded my skill. I get that some folks don't have that thing, but holy hell if you show up on a shiny new $12,000 Pinarello, you'd better be pretty fast -- if not, I kinda feel like it's okay to rag you.
A nice bike certainly helps, but it's all about your fitness and strength.
If you can shave off 500g in your wheelset, it makes much more difference than shaving 500g off the frame or other 'static' component.
If you over-inflate your tires, you'll have less traction.
There's also the fact that during a tough climb on a trail with obstacles (roots rocks) you can't just power your way up, you have to maintain constant awareness of where the contact patch of your rear wheel is at all times, and modulate the power such that you deliver the most power where you have the most traction.
Fail to do that on a rock or root and you'll blow the climb.
The difference between some of those mid-level bikes and superbikes is also quite small compared to the price. Regardless of you wealth, the return on investment isn't there unless you're just a bike nut. They are also getting specialized to the point that they are really pro-level bikes that sort of need sponsors and mechanics behind them; how many Pinarello frames have been broken in competition the last few years? It's one thing when they pull a near exact duplicate off the car and give it to you in a race, it's something else when you call your wife for help and then take it to your dealer and 6-8 weeks later you get a new frame from Italy iff your still under warranty. I only pick on Pinarello because I think I've seen 4+ chainstays broken over the last handful of years, in competition. The second level gruppos are generally known to be identical but more durable than the top levels.
this is off topic though...
I think the point of diminishing returns is probably the first decent carbon bike with 105 on it. Going above that gets you creature comforts -- Ultegra absolutely shifts more crisply, e.g. -- but won't make you materially faster.
Around here, the oft-repeated maxim is that Ultegra is worth it if you can easily afford it, but that Dura-Ace is just showing off. I think that's probably true.
There IS something to nicer wheels, but you kinda need to be fairly strong to justify the upgrade from decent alloy rims to aero carbon. I wore out the OEM rims that came on my bike, and a friend sold me his barely used ENVE 4.5s for a SONG (basically the "I need to get these out of the house, and I like you" price). They made a meaningful difference for me -- I'm quicker off the line, sure, but the bigger difference is the degree to which they feel like they just want to roll by themselves once I'm over 22-23MPH. I'm told that's more aero than weight, plus lower resistance from the hubs (DTSwiss 180).
BUT this also was a jump from pretty crappy OEM alloy to, realistically speaking, nearly top of the line carbon. My pal paid as much for these wheels as I paid for my entire bike 4 years ago. I wonder how much difference I'd have felt if my upgrade hadn't been such a huge jump.
>I only pick on Pinarello because I think I've seen 4+ chainstays broken over the last handful of years
Here, I don't even SEE that many Pinarellos. I think it's because of a lack of dealer presence. It's a big city (Houston), but the packs are dominated by Specialized, Cannondale, Cervelo, a bit of Trek, no small amount of Giant, and then a mix of more esoteric or custom bikes. I see more Moots or Alchemy than I do Pinarello. Bianchi is almost entirely absent.
It was really warm on Sunday here, so I went for a long ride with some nice views.
I was a mechanic in my younger years. I was content. I was lower middle class, but I didn't care. Yeah, it was dirty, it was tiring, it was hard on the body, but it was rewarding.
Once we had our first child, I refocused on a long-lost passion of mine and have been a network engineer for about seven years now...While I also love this job, and do find it rewarding, I got into cycling about six years ago.
I've always realized that I upped the 'profitability' of my career by over four-fold - and I know that I did it for the sake of my son and my wife. But I never realized that cycling actually filled a gap that I left for myself.
I'm completely fine with cycling filling that gap. My family lives a better life now, and I absolutely love cycling. The article definitely hit home with me - word after word, sentence after sentence, I can relate to the whole thing.
Now my current job is absolutely rewarding as well. I’m actually recognized a lot for my troubleshooting ability, but normally a typical project from start to end could be four months - or more - if it includes a lot of documentation to pass off to an operations team. I definitely do more designing, documentation, and transitioning of those systems than I do troubleshooting, however these days.
Keep in mind, I’m not complaining - just explaining. I love my job and am challenged. I think it just misses some of the more frequent gratifying completion of tasks (which cycling fills).
Hope that explains a bit more.
Yikes, if generally true :-) I work on reflexivity a lot with coaching clients. However it takes a lot of craft to work around to it for some, and even then it can feel like selling something really dangerous.
Modern culture seems to offer endless options for a breadth-first search for anything. In contrast, depth is seen as risky in a variety of ways, from social risk (never go deep in polite company!) to e.g. intellectual FOMO.
We make it really easy to ignore the self, to ignore "my condition" in favor of pursuing what is "healthy" or "impressive" for "our condition."
Essentially, the relatively shallow externality of "pain, suffering" becomes a sort of pornography of self-improvement. In other words, it has all of the outward signs of self-improvement activity with none of the critical inward-turning, truly reflective contextualization.
In my own practice this is frequently seen in prioritization of e.g. income and careerism and socially-prioritized-labeled-experiences. The people who say, "I have circumnavigated the globe, I've climbed the tallest peak on every continent, I drank the mythical Peruvian tea, I am a triathlete, I was at the top of our sales floor so long that they did away with the award." When there's no real "me" and "who I am," in there, just a bunch of externalities that "all of us can honor and appreciate and sit in awe of," in a list.
I've run a few marathons, and I think that's nuts. It's only expensive if you want it to be. You don't need $580 worth of new clothes, $235 in intermediate races, a $130 gym membership, $210 worth of massages, $95 in transportation/lodging (if you run a local one), and $165 in celebration food (!!).
Wear clothes you already have (if you're at all athletic to begin with), get a training book from the library, and spend $100 for an entry fee and $100 for a good new pair of shoes or two. There, I just saved you $1500 off your next marathon.
... my race to qualify was £40 entry, petrol (£25?) and £3 parking (I only put 4 hours on the meter from when I arrived to give myself even more incentive).
So as is so often the case, a range in an article is uninformative - it tells us nothing about the normal experience and leaves us all extrapolating from our own experiences!
My hypothesis is that getting an actual team (or teams) together to practice is something that is easier for people who are longer on time, shorter on money, while individual sports can be indulged by people with more money but where it is more difficult to synchronize schedules for team practice.
Cycling is similar - I know doctors who are avid cyclists as it works so well. When they are on call they have to be available and can't go anywhere... perfect for the turbo trainer.
More affluent people tend to have much more of their daily time scheduled, while less affluent people tend to be more flexible with their time - they can afford to just "hang out".
The second half was also pretty silly. That endurance sports are escapism from a mundane reality with no sense of objectives. Sure... that’s fine. But that’s also how all other hobbies work. You do it because you find it engaging and meaningful to pursue. Extended theorizing about the joys of painful struggle seem unwarranted.
Not mentioned: social signaling.
Sure you can spend thousands on a fancy carbon fiber machine and thousands more on accessories, but it's not a requirement. Even if you want to compete seriously, by the time it makes a noticeable difference manufacturers would be offering you bikes.
But pretty much all that is optional and the rate of performance return for investment is minuscule in running compared to biking.
If you shop around you can get good enough running shoes for $50. After that you need shorts, underwear that won't chafe a couple shirts (and possibly a sports bra). For under $100 you can have everything you need to train for and complete a marathon.