Every election cycle contains mis-statements and gaffes and other things that would be trivial for most folks … but in a campaign become serious fodder for one side and spin-control for the other. Recently we had one from Republican VP candidate Paul Ryan, who mis-spoke about his marathon time. Here is a bit from RunnersWorld:
Ryan had said in a radio interview last week that his personal best was “Under three, high twos. I had a two hour and fifty-something.”
RunnersWorld hooked into the comment because completing so quickly would require running sub-7 minute miles for 26.2 miles – and by far make him the fastest person on a Presidential ticket. But as we know, the statement was untrue, and he has corrected it with some self-effacing admissions about getting ribbed by his brother about his time (something I can appreciate as my brother and I prepare to run a marathon together in a few weeks):
The race was more than 20 years ago, but my brother Tobin—who ran Boston last year—reminds me that he is the owner of the fastest marathon in the family and has never himself ran a sub-three. If I were to do any rounding, it would certainly be to four hours, not three. He gave me a good ribbing over this at dinner tonight.
There has been speculation including a New Yorker article entitled ‘Lie or Mistake? Paul Ryan’s Marathoning Past’, which asks a basic question: does it matter? They bring up something I can affirm: runners remember times – in a solo sport, you might not remember the seconds on a long race, but basic time estimates and pacing you are likely to remember for many years.
On the one hand it clearly does NOT matter – Ryan is in excellent shape, and completing a marathon EVER is a great accomplishment. And really … who cares?!? Yet on the other hand, just after being taken to task by no less than FOXNews for a Convention speech they said “Attempted To Set World Record For Blatant Lies” … perhaps having your veracity called into question yet again is NOT what you would want.
Anyway, there is now a site where you can enter a time and distance and get it transformed into a ‘Paul Ryan certified’ number. All in good fun! I entered my recent half-marathon time and found out that if transformed I would have been second in my age group and in the top 20 overall! Yay me!
Your Paul Ryan-adjusted Half Marathon time: 1:29:10
The current Men’s World Record for Half Marathon is 58:23.
Your Paul Ryan-adjusted time is only 30:47 away from a new Paul Ryan-certified world record!
Again, this is just a for-fun thing, and I really don’t think that this entire thing deserves the attention it is getting – particularly since the FOXNews coverage I mentioned seems to be getting more play due to the source instead of using it as a jumping off point to … say, DISCUSS THE ISSUES.
Take your time to the Paul Ryan Time Calculator and let us know what you get!. Also, what do you think about this as an ‘issue’, and how it compares to past gaffes and whether these are legitimate items for debate or pointless distractions?