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What is Chad Stafko so angry about?

Posted by Chrissy Horan  November 17, 2013 11:13 AM

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I wonder what the runners in Freeburg, IL did to piss off Chad Stafko. It must have been bad as the Wall Street Journal sympathized enough to publish his angry diatribe. And while it is clear he does not care for us motivated, physically active, reflective gear wearing individuals, I’m not sure why Mr. Stafko is angered by the “high visibility” of running in this country.

Some examples from his article that cause my confusion:

"There is only one reason running aficionados display the stickers. They want the rest of us to know about their long-distance feats."
Well, don’t most bumper stickers tell the reader something they never really asked? And often, aren’t they displayed with a sense of pride? I don’t think the bumper stickers for Boston University or Stonehill College on the neighboring cars in my parking lot serve any more functional purpose, nor do they offend or anger me.

"Almost every day I see people running: in the city, through subdivisions or out on country roads. They're everywhere and at all times, from dawn until dark, their reflective gear flickering along the road."
How much worse would it be if he couldn’t see us and hit a runner while driving? You’re welcome!

"These 15.5 million are hoofing it through marathons, half-marathons, 10Ks, 5Ks, fun runs, night runs, charity runs and what can only be labeled as insane ultramarathon runs of 50 miles or more."
It is worth pointing out that there is still an obesity epidemic in this country and there are many health benefits to being physically active. The fact that 15.5 million less people are not sitting on the couch watching TV is a REALLY good thing.

"When they're not out there sweating through the miles, they can relax with a running magazine. Or these runners, when they're not running, can go shopping—at a running store."
Yep, just like there are stores and magazines for pretty much every other hobby or sport.
Art, cooking, fishing, interior design, baseball card collecting…I’m not sure it’s terribly surprising people want to get their information and goods from people with expertise on the topic and products.

"I have a theory. There is no more visible form of strenuous exercise than running."
Runners may not need access to a field or ice rink to exercise, so they may be easier to see without seeking them out. But I would wager that for every runner Mr Stafko sees, there are 5 more training that he didn’t see, running before the kids wake up at 5:00am, after their shifts end at 10:00pm or off the road through trails in the woods.

"These days, people want more than ever to be seen."
So why does that make runners the bad guys? Is it any worse to take a picture with your medal post-race than it is to take a photo sitting at your favorite restaurant or on the beach at your favorite vacation spot and post it on Facebook or Instagram? Sharing and exchanging information; that is social media.

And social media just got A LOT of people to read his article. Maybe someone else just wanted to be seen.

As always, let me know what you think and what’s going on in your running community. Post comments here or email me at

This blog is not written or edited by or the Boston Globe.
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About the author

     Chrissy Horan has been running around Boston and nearby neighborhoods since 2000. An athlete through high school and college, she has found the running community in Boston to More »

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