Thursday, October 23, 2008

Getting It Right

Nice to see Nike and the organizers of the Nike Women's Marathon in San Francisco doing the right thing.

I've been slow in blogging on this, but Arien O'Connell, a fifth-grade teacher in Brooklyn, ran the fastest time at the marathon last weekend (Awesome race, I might add). Yet, she wasn't the first person to cross the finish line.

Confused? Welcome to the world of elite running.

Back in the day, everyone started at the same time, and the first person to cross the finish line was the winner. Now, with electronic chips and elite starting times, the rules have changed. Only those running in the elite race could win.

O'Connell didn't push to get in the elite pool. Her time of 2:55:11, done within the general population of racers, was faster than anyone in the race. But because she wasn't an "elite" runner, she wasn't eligible to "win."

Now, to be fair, race strategy is dictated by who is running with you, so there's no guarantee she would have won if she was in the elite group. But, still ...

The solution: Co-winners of the race, and no elite start next year.

See the article from the New York Times here, which has a photo (so if you see her running in Brooklyn, say "howdy.")

There's mention, btw, at the bottom of the article, that the elite start at the NYC Half Marathon (also sponsored by Nike), might end up changing as well.

1 comment:

Michael said...

I always made me happy that I was "competing" with those elite runners. Now I am starting 40 minutes after them at this years NYC Marathon. This story takes some of the fun away.... I can not win, unless the race officials determine in advance that I can. Ummmm, not so happy.