A woman watching a marathon Sunday confessed that—contrary to her shouts of encouragement—she was not convinced that every runner she cheered had, in fact, got this.
Angie Merkel, 49, made the admission after being questioned by a reporter.
"You're right," she said. "I don't know who's truly got this and who doesn't. I guess I've been using the phrase pretty indiscriminately."
Merkel, whose sister was running the race, estimates that she shouted "You got this!" at 75 to 100 runners during the hour or so she had been standing along mile 14 of the race route—despite knowing "absolutely nothing" about any of the athletes streaming past her.
"I may have gotten out a bit over my skis there," Merkel said. "Truth be told, I have no idea how these runners will fare between here and the finish. Maybe some of them didn't train properly. Maybe others started way too fast, or are hurt or just having an off day."
"Has each and every one of them got this?" she asked. "Not likely."
In hindsight, she said, "I did not choose my words as carefully as I might have."
Imagining a hypothetical runner who clearly doesn't got this, and knows it, Merkel said that her cheer may sound less like words of encouragement and more like a cruel, ironic taunt.
"He knows he doesn't got this," she said. "He knows it's no secret that he doesn't got this. For me to tell him, then, that he has got this is just twisting the knife, isn't it?"
A struggling runner approached, and Merkel paused to cheer him on as he stopped to vomit.
"You look great!" she shouted.