Thursday, May 19, 2011

First Class Citizens

As I stated in an earlier post, I was extremely pleased with the Illinois Marathon experience.  However, there was one particular situation with which I was disheartened.

At this particular race and many others across the country, the organizers offered several different competitions for its registrants.  There was a 5K, 10K, half marathon, full marathon, and of course the marathon relay which I participated in.  I cannot speak for the rest of the participants, but as a runner in the relay I felt as though I was treated as a second class citizen.

When all of the other racers received nice string bags and performance t-shirts, the relay racers received plastic bags and regular old cotton t-shirts, which had to be discounted because of their atrocious color (beige).  I wanted to base this on money paid to participate, but we actually paid more per person than either the 5 or 10K runners.

Second, relay racers were forced to wear additional racing bibs that read in big, bold letters, "RELAY".  Just as every other racers had their race listed on their regular race bib, so too did ours read "Relay".  What was the purpose of making us wear an additional bib to single us out from the rest of the group?

Lastly, when receiving congratulations for completing the race, a volunteer was actually heard to have said, "Oh, you just did the relay."  Huh?  You have got to be kidding me!  75% of my team just ran further than any one of the 5 or 10K runners, and the other teammate just ran further than they had ever run in their whole life!  I realize we did not compete in an entire marathon as individuals, but we just ran our asses off and paid good money to do it!  As you can see the whole treatment still sticks with me

On the back of my team's shirts was a quote:
If you run, you are a runner.  It doesn't matter how fast or how far. It doesn't matter if today is your first day or if you have been running for 20 years.  There is no test to pass, no license to earn, no membership card to get.  YOU JUST RUN!
That is the mentality I would like to see at these races.  We should be proud of every person that is out there, no matter the race.  I would even include the volunteers and spectators in this fold.  Every single person out there has taken time out of their busy lives to be there to participate or in support of a healthy lifestyle, and we should all be proud that we have done so! 

1 comment: