If you’re a marathon runner and have never watched Naked And Afraid on Discovery Channel, you don’t know what you’re missing! They mention marathon runners more than any other random show I’ve watched. The message being that marathon runners are a tough bunch and that you can tell a lot about someone if they run marathons.
The show is not as bad as it sounds. They send a man and a woman out for 21 days into the wilderness to try and survive with limited gear, while being naked, obviously. Before they go, they give them a psych eval (the fact that they even want to go means they already failed, imo, but anyhoo…) and then give them a “Primitive Survival Rating“, or PSR, based on their experience level and the skills they bring with them. For instance, if you can start a fire using sticks… 3 points. If you know how to build a primitive shelter… 2 points. If you have previous experience surviving a plane wreck in the Andes and ate the other passengers to survive… 8 points. That sort of thing. But here’s the interesting thing…. if you have run marathons before, they give you like 6 or 7 points for that! Marathon running! Even if you haven’t done anything else in your life besides charge your iPhone, you get like an intermediate level of points! Two points for knowing how to build a fire but 7 points for having run a marathon before?! Are marathon runners that badass?
Apparently Discovery thinks so because you’ll see people (mostly women) who show up in an episode and they can’t make a fire, they don’t have experience hunting or fishing and, at most, they’ve been camping a few times. Oh but they’ve run a marathon! The voice over says it like they pulled out a magic talisman that they can now use to survive 21 days in a swamp – their marathon training. What?!
What this show seems to be saying is that there is a huge value in mental strength and stamina and marathon runners have that. Wow. Thanks Discovery! I mean, I’m not sure I agree that by just having done marathons you are automatically in the 6-7 “PSR” range for the show. And, if I have to pick a battle buddy and one person says “I know how to make a fire using sticks” and another person says “I ran the Disney Marathon once” … I’m not sure I would pick the Disney guy.
Take the PSR test here! Or click on the picture.
In the test, they ask you how much you exercise. I guess there is some scientific correlation between that amount and your ability to survive somewhere or something. Maye if you are 450 lbs and don’t exercise, you would not be the ideal survival candidate with stamina issues and possibly associated health issues? I’m not sure how it works. But, hey, all you marathoners should try out! Can’t build a fire? No problem! So long as you ran Chicago last year! I myself got a 9 out of 10 (clearly this test is flawed). I mean, I went to boot camp and all, I was in the military, but the U.S. military has SUPPLIES. They didn’t send us off to rub 2 sticks together for fire! They didn’t give us a machete and tell us to hunt our dinner! If I had to give myself a PSR…. 10 being a master survivalist…. 1 being a morbidly obese, non-exerciser who thinks that sleeping in a cave covered in fresh bear tracks is a good idea… I’d give myself a 4. And 3 of those points would probably be directly attributed to those same traits that keep me strong during marathons.
I guess what Discovery is saying is that someone can learn to make fire, but not everyone can be the personality type to not break down and cry or quit or fall apart when the going gets tough, but that that’s what marathon runners do. They stay strong even when it’s easy to quit. Marathons are no joke. It’s tough to run up hills and as fast as you can for 26 miles. It’s tough finding all the hours you need to run per week when you’ve got a million other obligations. And nobody is holding a gun to your head at the Disney Marathon telling you to get your ass back to the Magic Kingdom or you lose a knee cap. When you are a marathon runner, you say those things to yourself. You find a way to keep yourself going, even when you are in pain and even when everything sucks and you’re wondering why the hell you chose to do this. I guess that’s exactly what they want to see out of their survivalist too. That’s why they take those marathon runners!
If I had to give myself a PSR for surviving marathon training this season though……….. 7. It’s been tough and I’ve thought about tapping out, but I’m still here!
Anyone of you runners watch Naked and Afraid? Do you think they should give marathon runners extra strength points on the PSR?