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Mayor Triathlete: Positive or negative?


For my column thingy this week, I looked at one notable fact about Mayor Adrian Fenty: While his re-election campaign might have had a recent stumble or three, he's still very much on solid footing when it comes to triathlons.

At the 2009 Nation's Triathlon, held in the District in September, Fenty finished the swim-bike-and-run in 2 hours 21 minutes -- a time Washington DC Triathlon -- good enough for fourth out of 104 in his age group.

Right now President Obama, for instance, is dealing with critics who say he shouldn't be playing golf while oil continues to spew into the Gulf of Mexico. That might be fair, that might not be fair. I, for one, begrudge no public official time to relax.

But Fenty's triathloning is different from Obama's golf in two ways, one positive and one negative. On the con side, being an elite-level triathlete isn't something you do by just showing up on race day. It takes hours and hours of training. Even beginner-level training programs require 10 hours a week. Those are hours Hizzoner wouldn't be performing official duties. On the pro side, raising to that level of competition requires developing intense focus and discipline -- skills, plenty have suggested, that can translate to governance.

So what do you think: Is Fenty's triathloning a good thing, a bad thing, or nothing to be concerned with at all?

Photo courtesy of Action Sport Photo Inc./DC Triathlon

By Mike DeBonis  |  June 25, 2010; 1:29 PM ET
Categories:  Adrian Fenty , DCision 2010 , The District  
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Let Fenty run all he wants; let someone who knows how to run the city government run it. Even if the skills necessary to be a successful triathlete were transferable to running DC government, Fenty hasn't done so. It's a negative in another way too given that it, at least in Fenty's case, results in a level of mental and physical energy that is far, far ahead of anyone else in the government. It makes him out of synch with the whole and what the whole can reasonably accomplish. He's so far ahead no one can follow him and that's not leadership, it's showmanship.

Posted by: 1citizen | June 26, 2010 12:41 AM | Report abuse

Although I have not followed the mayors career or how well he is or is not running DC, getting 10 hours of exercise per week is just a little over the minimum recommended by experts. As far as elite status in triathlon: 104 in his age group is not even close-top five would be considered elite. Having a healthy mayor or any public employee is far superior to the alternative. There is plenty of evidence to show active people make better, more productive workers. Perhaps, our President should pick up triathlon, maybe he could see that individual effort has rewards. So, DC be happy you have a fit mayor, and if you don't think he has the capacity to do his job-vote him out of office.

Live Free or Die--NH

Posted by: gagnedavid | June 27, 2010 12:20 PM | Report abuse

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