Tuesday, February 21, 2006
MISSING OUT ON MEDALS
Here's a great race report from a tough runner at Sunday's Lost Dutchman Half Marathon. Remember how I wrote that the medals ran out? Misty missed out on a medal she well deserved. They had 500 medals but got a lot of late registrations, and it was not the latecomers to registration, but relative latecomers to the finish line, who worked harder and for a longer time than the faster runners, who got slighted.
In the 10K, 200 medals were available. However, there was a sign noting this fact, next to the medal displayed at the Expo, so people were prepared. My friend Vickie, all the way from Michigan, ran the 10K, fighting a sore foot. She deserved a finisher's medal, but had checked at the Expo and learned that 250 were registered, so she knew it was possible she might be out of the running for a medal. Still, if medals are being ordered for and mailed to half-marathon runners, the same should be done for the 10K runners, many of whom worked harder and against more odds than some of the half- or even full-marathoners, depending on what they were up against. Again, Vickie had registered in plenty of time, but many runners registered at the Expo, and there was race-day registration for all distances except the full marathon, and no doubt a portion of these late registrants made it to the finish for one of the 200 10K or 500 1/2-Marathon medals.
Somehow, people who register in plenty of time and run a really gutsy race are sacrificing their medals to Johnny-come-lately's. Deserving though some of the Johnny-come-lately's may be.
Not everyone runs fast. However, IF SOME FINISHERS RECEIVE FINISHER'S MEDALS, ALL FINISHERS SHOULD RECEIVE FINISHER'S MEDALS. For it to be otherwise is unjust and discriminatory.
Lots of race registrations note "T-shirts to first 200 entries" or "T-shirts not guaranteed to athletes registering after a certain date." Maybe they could do the same with finisher's medals: guarantee them to a certain number of finishers or to those registering before a deadline, and state that any deficit of medals will be ordered after the race, and mailed to those who didn't get one.
Late registrants could have some kind of identification mark on their race bib -- different color bib, or some kind of indelible mark on it, or something.
Race winners would still get their overall or age-group awards on-site. It's not like they'd go home empty-handed.
Or..... they could limit the field of entrants and order that many medals, expecting there will be some DNF's and the race will just lose the cost of those medals.
I can't think of any other ways around this. Can anyone else?