Over 30,000 people are running in the 120th annual Boston Marathon today. It's an elite race: people often train for years in order to make qualifying times that allow them to participate. The Internet is rife with encouragement, accolades, and praise for marathoners' bravery, tenacity, and general awesomeness.
But is this amount of adulation over-the-top? Yes, marathon runners are extremely hard-working athletes who endure suffering while they train. But social workers, teachers, firemen, soldiers, and EMTs also put in long hours and endure intense deprivation, in the service of the greater good, without receiving a 10th of the glory or congratulations that a marathoner might.
So: do marathoners deserve all the praise they receive? Or should we save our accolades for more altruistic accomplishments?