Republican vice presidential nominee Paul Ryan recently claimed to have run a marathon in under three hours ("I had a two hour and fifty-something"); his actual time was over four hours ("Ryan says he misstated marathon claim," Tribune, Sept. 2).
Upon hearing this, I looked up three of my dad's marathon times, noteworthy because they corresponded with the progression of his Lou Gehrig's disease. He ran the best race of his life (3:34:56) at the St. George Marathon in 2006. A couple weeks later, he finished the Chicago Marathon in over four hours (4:14:30). Not bad for a man in his 50s, especially considering the diagnosis that awaited him when he got home.
Dad's St. George time qualified him for the Boston Marathon that following spring. In spite of weakening in his arms and legs, he continued to train. On a rainy April day, he walked across the finish line in six hours (6:12:57). To a casual observer, he was just another straggler; to me, he was the epitome of bravery.
Does it matter that a candidate for vice president fibbed about his marathon time? I don't know. Ask my dad.