Thursday, December 09, 2010

Trail Runner mag and breaking the rules

I haven't given proper recognition to one of the most motivating reads in our industry, and it's time I do:  Here's a shout out to Trail Runner magazine, one of the best "get me amped" publications on the market.

Trail Runner touts great graphic design and inspiring images, as the November 2011 cover (at right) can attest.  If you're into destination pieces, apparel and gear, fitness tips and great feature columns, it's for you.

The November issue features a recent controversy.  The USATF (USA Track & Field) National Trail Championship was held in Bend, Oregon back in September.  Shortly past 25 miles, a course volunteer sent race leader Erik Skaggs and those behind him down the wrong trail.  After the lead group realized the error, they made their way back on course and had the maturity to re-order themselves before crossing the finish line!

You may argue about this maneuver, but let's take is a step further:  A master's racer on the course also got lost and insisted that he receive what would have been his projected finishing time, had he not been lost!  The point became moot, as this same competitor was nixed from his USATF title because he was wearing headphones, which are outlawed in USATF competitions.  The runner argued he was not aware of the stipulation.

I need to refer to my earlier post regarding the Pinhotti 100, where the runner featured in that podcast refused to leave the course.  He had missed cut-off times but debated that sweepers had not yet caught up to him.  Are rules made to be debated, or enforced without exception?

My take is that each and every time, we should respect the promoter and abide by his/her rules.  It's our responsibility to read event materials and attend pre-race meetings, so that ignorance isn't an excuse.  I really don't like running without headphones, but when a race outlaws them, I can either stay home, or come to race without them.  And if the day comes I'm asked to leave a course, I will do it. Promoters are facing liability and insurance issues and if we don't cooperate, they may be out of business.

Maybe I'm a conformist, but if racers won't defer to a promoter's authority, there is no authority.  So in addition to Trail Runner, here's another shout out on the all those race promoters who work hard to give us a place to play.


  1. I think it's important to listen to the RD, but in the case of the Pinhoti runner, maybe just technically disqualify him, but let him continue? Not sure if that would remove liability from the organizers though.