Thursday, October 23, 2008

Who won this race? Two winners, how can that be?

Last Sunday, October 19th at the San Francisco marathon the fastest time did not win. Yes, you read that correct. The fastest runner was not the winner. How can that be you say? Citing a technicality, that the faster runner did not run with the elite wave, she could not be declared the winner.

Backing up here, Arien O'Connell ran a 2 hours, 55 minutes and 11 seconds marathon running in the age group field. She had never broken 3 hours in five previous attempts and ended up with a PR by more than 12 minutes. If not for the ending, this would have been a great story. Incredibly, the "winner" of the race was a woman that ran 3 hours, 6 minutes. Nike declared the 3 hours, 6 minutes time the winner and initially refused to consider the faster time as the true winner of the race. Incredibly, Nike officials essentially blamed Arien for competing in the wrong category and that if she planned to run that fast, she should have been competing as an elite.

A few days later, the story has a somewhat happy ending in that Arien was declared "a winner" but not the winner, stating that since the elite class runner did not have a chance to respond to Arien's race.

I can see that Arien probably should have been running with the elites, considering her best time was around the 3 hours, 6 minutes timeframe, but to declare a winner, where the winner does not have the fastest time? That seems a bit ridiculous to me. This will never be a problem for me, but Jason and Craig, pay attention!

Read the whole story here.

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