First off, I think it should be pointed out that nobody is bemoaning the fact that there are more slower runners in this thread. The problem raised is that there are much fewer faster runners.
Yes, so much better than 2000 but still so far from the 70s and 80s and not all that amazing.
So we had a 20 year bubble period? More like we were leading the world, then we went in reverse while the rest of the world continued going forward.
Well, I think some things are being done. However, not enough. First, the training groups like the Hansons, the Farm Team, the groups in Minnesota and San Diego (both names slipped my mind for some reason), even the Oregon Project are helping. Some runners are getting away from that “less is more” philosophy that was a large cause of this country’s collapse through the 90s. However, more has to be done. We have to promote the sport to younger generations. We have to have track and field days for kids and make sure they have fun at those. Why can’t we have youth track and field programs like all the youth soccer programs I see all over the place? We also need to support our faster runners. I have gone to races where I would be scorned at because I’m trying to run fast. Is this the way to encourage people to be competitive?
We do need to act on these issues instead of just feeling sorry for ourselves about them. If every runner who cared about competitive running went out and made an effort to help local runners who had a chance to make a competitive impact or to help kids with potential to discover the sport or to simply show some support for competitive runners instead of complaining how this country’s competitive running has gone down the toilet, maybe we would see a more positive trend. However, the first step in fixing a problem is admitting that there is one. I think the numbers given in this thread point out that there is a problem, so now what are we going to do about it?