What’s in a name? We need to call races something else.

I’ve done tons of races.  From the 40 yard dash, all the way up to a full marathon.

Fire bad!

Fire bad!

But I think we need to make a change. And so I totes wrote an original poem about how I’m going about it:

*I’m Starting With The Man In The Mirror.  I’m Asking Him To Change His Ways. And No Message Could Have Been Any Clearer. If You Wanna Make The World A Better Race Take A Look At Yourself, And Then Make A Change.  Na Na Na, Na Na Na, Na Na, Na Nah*


I'm in a race.

I’m in a race.

When I was training for the Disney Dopey Challenge I started wondering.  That’s what happens when you run a lot of miles – you have time to think.  I started wondering why only the ‘Marathon’ has a real name.  As in, “I’m running a marathon.”

And a TBT race.

And a TBT race.

Now there’s also the half marathon.  And that makes sense because it’s half the distance of a full marathon (coincidentally).

Doin work son.

Doin work son.

But what about our other most common races?  The 5k, the 10k, the 15k, the 10 miler, etc.  Why don’t they have names?  Why do we call them by their distances?  Why don’t we call a marathon a “42.195k?”



Most of us know the story of the ancient Greek soldier who ran the first ‘marathon’ to relay the news of their victory in battle.  Phidippides supposedly ran just about 26.2 miles to the plains of Marathon to tell the tale, then promptly died.  So yes, that makes sense that we’d call it a marathon since there’s a story behind it.

But what about a 5k?

At a recent Relay Race - We're both rockin the Brooks.

At a recent Relay Race – We’re totes synchronized.

I did some research and according to the experts at Wikipedia, it’s loosely based on a race from the ancient Olympics called a Dolichos.  Which was about the same distance.  Ok, then, let’s call a 5k a Dolichos.  Deal?

Proof that I run races.

Battle of the lobster backs.

What about a 10k?  Well I couldn’t find crap about it’s history other than it first appeared in the Olympics in Stockholm in 1912.

Running a race in ill-fitting clothes.

Running a race with my sis.

Since we name the Marathon after the area it first happened, then maybe we should call the 10k a ‘Stockholm’?

I finished this race despite only having one leg.

I finished this race despite only having one leg.

But then what about the 5k? Do we call it a ‘half Stockholm’?  Or is the 10k a ‘double Dolichos’?  I think I like the latter better.

Running all the miles.

Running all the miles.

I still have more research to do about the other random distances, but I think we’re off to a good start.  Until then, I’m getting ready for a Double Dolichos next week.  Bring it!

How bout you?  Any inside info as to why races are called what they’re called?  Any ideas for new names?  Anyone have a Dolichos coming up?



Categories: Running | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 54 Comments

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54 thoughts on “What’s in a name? We need to call races something else.

  1. I learned a lot!
    I’m running a “Double Dolichos” Sunday (BlueNoseMarathon in Halifax) and can’t wait….I’m going to spread the word about it’s new name 🙂

  2. I didn’t know that about the 5k! I assumed they were modern-ish creations. Nice round number you could run on a track and all that.

    • Well it was on Wikipedia, so it must be true! 😉 Yeah, now if we could only switch to the metric system here in the states.

  3. I must tell the BolderBoulder folks that it is no longer “America’s All-Time Best 10K,” but rather “America’s All-Time Best Double Dolichos!” Thank you for setting the running world straight.

  4. What about a 27k? I’m running one in a couple of weeks lol!

  5. I love this idea. And I love the 5K name. By the way, that poem your wrote is brilliant. Very catchy. It is really dangerous what happens when we are on long runs…dangerous thinking!

    • Thank you! Yes, the poem is totally original and not stolen from a popular song at all. I know right, when the mind has time to wander like that….

  6. I am getting ready for a marathon at the moment. I got a ton of inspiration from your post. I will make it, after all you were able to hop over fire with one leg:)

    • Wow, thanks so much! Best of luck in your marathon! You will crush it! Please keep me posted!
      Ps, it takes years to build up to the one legged fire jump!

  7. I love the name ideas! I agree, there are very random ways that we refer to race distances…some in miles, some in kilometers – consistency people!

    • Thanks! And haha, yes, Who is coming up with this stuff? We need a worldwide running organization to take charge!

  8. You crack me up. Period.

  9. TartanJogger

    I’d never thought about this before! Off to put on my thinking cap…

  10. I love Double Dolichos. It sounds like something I’d order at Starbucks.
    Also the marathon just got about 100x scarier now that you called it a 42.195K.

    • Ha, yes, Dolichos go good with turkey bacon sammies!
      Ooops, my bad! Just be glad I didn’t say how many laps around the track it is. I made the mistake of calcuating that right before I ran the Disney Marathon in Jan!

  11. There’s another name for HM – Pikermi.

  12. I never really thought about this before, but interesting point. Thanks for the history lesson! 🙂

  13. Hehe, my gosh, I love your pictures!!! You’re amazing!! I love how many races you’ve done! Truly phenomenal and nice info!! You made some great points in this post!!! Can’t wait to read what else you find out!! XOXO!!

  14. This is fantastic. Really not sure what else to say.

  15. Lol great post. I have a virtual dolichos coming up on Sunday.

    Ha love it.

  16. Love your captions.

    I’m running a dolichos on Sunday. Sounds like a new product from Frito-Lay. Works for me.

    • Ha, thanks!

      Good luck in your race! Considering Frito-Lay’s headquarters are down the street from here, maybe I can pitch the idea to them.

  17. I’m a big fan of Dolichos and Double Dolichos. I have a single version on Saturday! LOL

  18. LOL I love this post! I vote for some Dolichos. And that photo of you jumping over fire (!) is way cool.

  19. Ha- that’s funny! And I’ve never thought of that before!!
    Naming all race distances would also prevent people from saying they ‘ran a marathon’ when in reality they ran a road race of [fill in the blank] distance!

    • Ha, thanks!!!
      YES!!! People would say, ‘I just ran a dolichos’ instead of, ‘I just ran a 5k marathon.’ Doesn’t that drive you crazy!

  20. Now I have MJ stuck in my head! I like the Dolichos idea, and the double Dolichos has a nice ring to it.

  21. Pahahaha you’re totes funny. My Dolichos last weekend was so much fun. I don’t have one coming up though.

  22. Pingback: Bluenose Race Route (10k) | Piper's Run

  23. I may be in the minority here, but I love the sound of a “Half Stockholm”…

  24. Double Dolichos it is…. now go rest that brain of yours! 🙂

  25. Ha! Thanks for the lesson. I like your way of thinking. Perhaps they were too lazy to come up with a name, and decided to just ‘name’ the race with the distance?

    P.S. That original song of yours is super cool! 😉

    • Ha, you’re welcome! Yeah, I don’t know who first came up the names, but they could’ve been more creative!

      LOL, thanks! It didn’t take me that long to write either. 😉

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