I was working on a story recently about the explosion in running’s popularity in the past 30 years. The participation in running events in Canada and beyond is soaring. For example, the number of people running in the Ottawa Race Weekend increased by a whopping 337% between 2000 and 2010. Many races across North America are selling out months in advance of race day. You might say that running has hit a Tipping Point.
While working on the story, I figured it would be fun to hear what Malcolm Gladwell had to say about this social phenomenon, especially since he is a runner himself. (He was the 1500 m Canadian record holder during high school). So I emailed him.
It was a shot in the dark, to be sure, but a day after I sent my note a response appeared in my inbox. I think Gladwell’s stories and books are fascinating and I was thrilled he responded to my query. That is, until I opened his message. As it turned out it was his assistant emailing to tell me that Malcolm regretted that he was too busy with other obligations to take a phone call from me.
I’ve emailed a lot of people, who are far less prominent than Gladwell (i.e people who do not have three NY Times bestsellers) who did not respond to me. Granted, many of them likely do not have personal assistants. Nonetheless, it was nice to get a response. Hell, even the guy who owns the magazine I was writing for didn’t return my email or phone call (nor has his company paid me for the story which ran five months ago. But that is another matter).
Anyhow, I almost talked to Malcolm Gladwell recently. I guess that is not very cool. Bummer.