I want to try something new on Wednesdays. There are a lot of things constantly happening in the running world. I want to try and open up a thoughtful discussion on a variety of topics. Some will be general and some will be based on current events in the running world. Please join the conversation below! Let’s also, please be respectful of differing opinions.
This weeks weekly discussion topic- Runners getting assistance to finish a race.
It seems like there is an increasing number of stories on runners who are struggling to finish a race, often times unable to stand on their own two feet. In swoops another runner to save the day, and help that runner complete the distance. This isn’t completely new to the running world. However, with the increase in technology and how quickly an image can go viral on social media, we see it being shared pretty much every major race now.
As this continues to happen, there is an increase in discussion on whether the running world should support this behavior. A variety of reasons that people believe it should be celebrated. Others feel like this goes against the rules and that those runners should be disqualified or not receive a finisher medal.
To be honest, I have mixed feelings. I can really see both sides. I am not sure I have a strong opinion either way. My biggest concern is always going to be safety for all involved.
Here is a summary of some of the discussions happening around the web
- This is an awesome representation of our running community. Runners are selflessly sacrificing goal times to aid other runners. Not to mention, those runners helping are tired too. How awesome is the running community!
- It’s an example of sportsmanship at its best, it should be celebrated.
- Acts like these, help build our sport. We need more!
- It doesn’t affect the results, so who cares
- The people who care, are usually elitist jerks (non my opinion, but have read it in multiple locations)
- Rules are rules. Every runner who enters the race, needs to comply. This is against USATF rules. (Applicable to races governed by USATF)
- A finisher medal is EARNED. If you didn’t complete the race on your own, then unfortunately you didn’t earn the medal.
- Allowing this could open a can of worms. Where do you draw the lines? Only okay for “slow” runners? Who gets to decide how slow? Is being carried really different from other modes of transportation? How far out can you be carried and still be eligible?
- Allowing a runner to lean on you is okay, but when the are no longer walking on their own two feet, they should be disqualified. (examples below)
- Genuine medical concerns. A runner is struggling so much, that they can not hold themselves up. The runner could have a variety of unknown health concerns that need medical attention. Instead of getting the athlete the immediate help, the runner is carried a few hundred feet through the finish line. While most of the time, the runner will be okay. It is not worth the risk.
There seems to be a good number of runners who want to support the idea but also want to see the rules of the sport enforced. Some feel like a DQ might be too strict for most of the runners in this scenario, but making sure athletes who earned an award or BQ did so on their own abilities.
So what do you think? Do your opinions fall somewhere on the list above, or do you have another view point? Does your opinion change if you are the person being carried? If I were being honest, I probably judge myself harder than I would judge others. So while I may not have a strong opinion on others finishing in this manner, I would not want to be carried through a race. I would rather take the DNF, and get me medical help right away!
Check out the story from one of the runners pictured above. A strong runner, who was clearly a victim of the heat. He ran a great race, until the wheels began to quickly fall off. I think the detail added, that the closest medical attention was through the finish line is important. I will never negatively judge a runner that pushes themselves to such a struggle. I think many of us, imagine these scenes occurring with the “slower” less trained runners. This was not the case, as this gentlemen finished with an official time of 3:05. Many of the comments seem to reflect that as long as it didn’t impact an age group place, or BQ then it should be left alone. However, a 3:05 is a BQ. For any age group other than the under 34 males, this is pretty much a guaranteed time entry.
Similar situation. Mike was one of the guys that helped another runner finish. He also notes that the closest medical attention was through the finish line. I don’t believe anyone is judging these guys for doing the right thing and helping a fellow runner. No matter what, safety of all participants is first. The gentleman pictured below finished with a 3:09:46, not a BQ for his age group.
Does the Boston Qualifier vs non-Boston Qualifier impact whether the results should stand. These two gentlemen were a few minutes separated. Any other age group, and the times for each would be a BQ.
Join the conversation! Thank you so much for reading, be sure to subscribe!