Saturday, March 13, 2010

Should the rules rule?

This was the title of an article I was reading in the latest issue of Road Race Management. The article was about the Milwaukee Lakefront Marathon held in Oct. of 2009. It seems that one of the winners was aided by a person in a vehicle giving her a water bottle that was not from an official water station. Another incident was the second place female overall wearing an i-pod during the last portion of the race. Both women were disqualified and were not awarded prize money. Both women did not argue about each incident but the issue here is understanding and interpretation of the rules and how those rules should be enforced. So....should all middle of the pack runners be dq'ed since they had friends run the last half of the marathon with them or a family member sets up their own water stop? USATF rules seem to effect the elite athletes not the middle of the packers. These two women were at least a half hour behind the men's winner. They did not think that they were "elite" athletes but due to the weak field they found themselves leading the marathon. As a race director for the DE Marathon I would find it very difficult to dq them. If the women winner of our DE Marathon wins in 3:10 I would not consider her an elite athlete. A good time but not an elite time. Both ladies learned the hard way. But just what does elite actually mean?