Suppose I told you I found and awesome 5k/10 race nearby? You’d be interested right? Now suppose I told you that it is a very scenic course with a great party at the finish? You’re all ready to sign up right? NOW suppose I told you that ONLY men are allowed entry into this race? Some of you are not so happy now right? I want to shine a light on a double standard that has been going on for a few years and continues to grow.
There are times I have opened up my “goodie” bag only to find a flyer for a race that only allows women. The latest instance occurred last week and boasted in large font “WOMEN – ONLY 5K”. Let’s be honest, if I were to start a large and popular race called “The Men Only Marathon” and had floozies in wet t-shirts passing out the water at the aid stations followed by beer and jello wrestling at the finish line, I would probably have the National Organization for Women and the ACLU writing me threatening letters. To clarify, I don’t have a problem with female only races as long as the same courtesy is extended to men. Unfortunately there are no male only races for reasons already stated. From the Disney Princess Half Marathon to the Nike Women’s Marathon and Half Marathon, more of these races are popping up every year.
While men are begrudgingly allowed to enter these female only races in order to avoid legal issues, they are few and far between. In 2011 the Disney Princess Half Marathon was actually won by a man and here is a excerpt from the Wall Street Journal:
Jonathan Mederos set a personal record in Disney’s Princess Half Marathon last year, winning first place with a time of 1:16:17.
The reception he got was far from his personal best, though. “When I crossed the finish line, the announcers were silent, and I got downcast looks from the crowd,” says Mr. Mederos, a 25-year-old high-school philosophy teacher in Miami.
That’s what a guy gets for winning a women’s race. As Rick Cordes took last year’s Nike Women’s Half Marathon, he slunk across the finish line, with a finger pressed to his lips, beseeching silence after having been heckled throughout the race.
In an effort to keep men from entering, many of these races are trying to “girly” them up so much that guys do not want to enter. Salon reported that in the Run Like a Diva Half Marathon, “medals will be presented by shirtless firemen.”
A popular argument I have encountered while researching this topic is that women have been excluded from races in the past and now they should be “compensated”. This is a ridiculous statement. Most female runners today were not alive or far too young to even remember when this happened let alone compete in a race. To punish the present for mistakes of the past never accomplishes the goal of “fairness” and only serves to create more animosity.
As I have already said, I don’t have any problem with these races as long as I don’t hear complaints when the “Bikini Babe Half Marathon For Men” comes to a town near you.
© Copyright 2012 The Hornet, All rights Reserved. Written For: Adventures In Running