Few would argue that training for a marathon is non-trivial. Mental toughness is required to roll your sorry ass out of bed at 6AM to run in the dark when it's windy, cold, and rainy. This is to say nothing of the fortitude required to run through the almost inevitable fatigue and discomfort that is part and parcel of the sport.
Compounding the inherent challenges in training for 26.2 miles of self flagellation is the recent rise of heckling. While professional athletes deal with hecklers on a routine basis, heckling has largely been a non-issue for the amateur athlete.
Most recently it's been some knucklehead driving by yelling, 'Run, Forrest, Run!' It's never been clear to me exactly what the purpose is of this brand of heckling. Is it supposed to be funny? Is the idea to distract the runner in the hopes that he/she will stumble and fall?
It's truly a mystery to me. But, I have had more than my fair share of dark, retaliatory fantasies. These fantasies run the gamut from simply giving the verbal assailants the finger to spitting on their car while running by.
Recently, one of my friends told me a story of a fellow runner who exacted a brilliant revenge on some obnoxious hecklers. Said hecklers were actually following this runner hurling various drunken insults. The runner came to a crosswalk and the car full of hecklers of course pulled into the crosswalk intentionally blocking his path. Undeterrred, the runner merely jumped on the hood of their car and simply continued running and in the process dented the hood of their car.
Fortunately, this runner was fast and entered a narrow fire road after running through the crosswalk. The drunken troglodytes certainly couldn't follow him in their car and none of them were fast (or sober) enough to catch him.
Granted, indulging one's retaliatory impulses is not something I would necessarily condone as it's hard to know for sure if you're dealing with drunk losers or some other more disturbed brand of heckler who may conveniently unholster his piece and decide runner hunting season has commenced.
That being said, there should be some kind of recourse. It's time for the heckled to rise up against the hecklers! Such indignities will no longer be tolerated! I am currently in the midst of assembling the contents of the 'anti-heckler' pack. Proposed contents for Marathon Matt's Anti-Heckler Pack include: Mace (for the mildly threatening heckler), Tink's No.10 Stink Skunk Scent (for the merely obnoxious heckler) (http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/tg/detail/-/B000AU396M/qid=1136170579/sr=8-1/ref=pd_bbs_1/103-1451265-7618244?v=glance&s=sporting-goods&n=507846), and Advanced Taser Gun (for the truly threatening heckler) (http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/tg/detail/-/B0009TU0FM/sr=1-6/qid=1136170670/ref=sr_1_6/103-1451265-7618244?%5Fencoding=UTF8&n=3375301&s=sporting-goods&v=glance). I'm certainly open to any suggestions.