Snooty & Snotty Race Directors

Dave McGillivray, DMSE, Inc.

Maitre D’: You’re Abe Froman?
Ferris: That’s right, I’m Abe Froman.
Maitre D’: The Sausage King of Chicago?
Ferris: [caught off-guard] … Uh yeah, that’s me.
Maitre D’: Look, I’m very busy. Why don’t you take the kids and go back to the clubhouse?
Ferris: Are you suggesting that I’m not who I say I am?
Maitre D’: I’m suggesting that you leave before I have to get snooty.
Ferris: Snooty?
Maitre D’: Snotty.
Ferris: Snotty?

As you might imagine, I deal with a lot of race directors for the Race with Purpose athletes who are all absolutely wonderful but admittedly can sometimes be a little like herding cats. Every now and then one or two of them forgets to do a necessary task related to an upcoming race and our team of RwP professionals has to reach out to the race directors to ask for special dispensation to address the seemingly simple oversight.

As a group, race directors have a completely thankless job – criticized for the simplest things that go less than perfectly and then chastised for the use of the $20 entry fee. They are, for the most part, dedicated to improving people’s lives through sport, are terrific, and go out of their way to accommodate every participant’s request. They are especially accommodating to us at Race with Purpose because our cause of addressing the causes of youth obesity and our goal of getting kids healthy and active is aligned with their personal values. As a local race director, myself, I can sympathise with the hundreds of requests race directors get that make us scratch our heads and wonder if people actually read the waivers and instructions that we spend hours upon hours anguishing over to make sure they cover every conceivable possibility.

That said, every now and then, we encounter a real jerk with a borderline god-complex that feels that the universe begins and ends in their corrals. The e-mail below is from one of our RwP athletes who moved to Colorado. I can’t argue with the facts of this Race Director’s response, in fact he probably covered more bases than most, but the tone is absolutely uncalled for and reflects so poorly on our sport and simply turns people off. In short, it is just unnecessary.

As for Jenny, you couldn’t ask for a nicer or sweeter lady and a great athlete to boot. She entered Pikes Peak and honestly believed she had sufficient qualifications to get into the preferred corral. Could she have crossed the t’s and dotted the i’s a bit better? Absolutely. That said, when she sent an e-mail to the race director-at-large, Matt Carpenter, this was his reply:

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From: “Matt Carpenter” <matt@skyrunner.com>
Date: June 12, 2007 6:05:00 AM MDT
To: “Jenny Arden”
Subject: Re: Confirm wave 1 entry?

Jenny,

You appear to not be willing to take the time to go to the website and read
what you signed up for. Every question you have asked is on the website and
was there since January. It clearly says that you will not be moved to wave
2 if your qualifications do not check out and yet you asked if you can be
moved to wave 2. It clearly says there are no refunds and yet you are asking
for a refund. Did you think that stuff was posted just as a joke? I am sorry
but this is a little frustrating because again I wrote you back in March.
Even if for some reason you did not get that, this process has been played
out on the website. Your name was there and flagged as needing to correct
your qualifications for over a month all the way until April 15th when you
were pulled.

At any rate, no one who did this gets/got a refund. I completely fail to see
why anyone would provide a link to their results as required to register and
not take the time to look at those results as a backup in case you somehow
remembered wrong. You can’t just draw a time out of thin air for entry into
this race. Please review what you signed up for. Below is a cut and paste
from the website. The EXACT same thing was on the entry form you filled out
on Active.com just above where you were required to fill in your
qualification race, time, year and link.

Ascent – Wave 1 – 915 must be qualified!
Qualifications:
To be placed in the 1st wave of the Pikes Peak Ascent® you must:
- Have run the Pikes Peak Ascent® in under 4 hours 15 minutes or
- Have run the ascent portion of the Pikes Peak Marathon® in under 4 hours
15 minutes or
- Have run a marathon in under 3 hours 45 minutes or
- Have run the Mt Evans Ascent in under 3 hours 00 minutes or
- Have run a half-marathon in under 1 hour 40 minutes.

Qualification notes:
- The times above are for races run in the last 5 years (2002-2006).
- For races run from 1997-2001 you must subtract 10 minutes from the times
above.
- Races prior to 1997 will not be accepted.
- Races that do not have online results will not be accepted.
- You will need to provide your qualifying race name, year, your time, and a
link to your results.
- Personalized Ascent and Marathon results links can be generated here.
- You may also link to the Ascent and Marathon results on the results page
of this site.
- Mt Evans results can be found here.
- You are responsible for finding the results websites for other races.
- If your qualifications can not be confirmed you will be removed from the
race and you will forfeit your entry fee! You will NOT be moved to the 2nd
wave!

and from the FAQ:

Qualifications
The Ascent Wave 1 and the Marathon have qualification criteria which is
outlined below. Please use the information so that you are prepared once
registration begins.

Advice: If you are signing up for the Ascent Wave 1 or the Marathon, have
your qualification criteria (race name, year, time, and a link to your
results) ready to go before registration begins!

Qualifications FAQ:
Q: What happens if my qualifications do not check out?
A: You will be pulled from the race and you will not receive a refund!

Matt
- – - – - – - – - -
Racing is a place that we go to remove ourselves from the trials and tribulations of our daily existence. For an hour or more, we get to feel like we are emulating the best of what life has to offer, comaraderie, competition, support and personal achievement. We look forward to this for months or even years and for some people and some races, it begins to define who we are. It reminds me of when I first moved to New York, I walked into a grocery store. At the check out, the lady never looked up, never reponded to my “hello” greeting, simply ringing up the items and then mumbling the amount due. I walked behind the counter and started looking around her work area. At this point she did look up and when she asked me what I was doing, I replied “I’m trying to find the gun behind your back that forced you to take this job.” As race directors, we know that the affirmation we get is self imposed believing that we are helping to make people feel just a little bit better through a fun experience. We’d all love it if we had only responsible and thoughtful applicants and participants, but we don’t. Repeating ourselves and pointing people to instructions and information previously provided just comes with the territory. These athletes grow through our efforts and look up to us as leaders of our sport. This isn’t a place for intolerance. Not here.

If at first you don't succeed…

Tom Storey, Boston Qualifier

 

2006 was a breakout year for Tom Storey, one of our Race with Purpose community’s most well-liked and talented runners. Last October, Tom was prepared, well trained and ready to accomplish his goal of running his best marathon and qualifying for Boston.

Alas, even with all of this effort, it wasn’t meant to be and while he PR’d, he missed qualifying by less than a minute. This was heart breaking to Tom after all of the 70+ mile weeks of running he put into his training. The weeks immediately following this bittersweet event were particularly challenging physically, emotionally and mentally. He was frustrated, dissapointed and physically broken down. Tom and I had numerous conversations about how he couldn’t even go out and finish a five-mile run without feeling too achy to continue.

During this period, I tried to encourage him by reminding him that he PR’d, he had an amazing season and that it was completely natural to have peaked for his “A” race, and now needed an appropriate time for his body to repair and recover. While this made perfect sense rationally to Tom, I sensed that it didn’t make him feel any better. Typical of Tom, however, a few weeks later, Tom was out there on the ING NYC Marathon course running back and forth on 5th Avenue encouraging his teammates to run up those final hills and run their own best marathon.

Still in the back of Tom’s mind was the fact that while his 2006 season was amazing by every standard, he didn’t get across his own personal finish line, the outcome goal he set of qualifying for Boston.

This past winter, Tom quietly rededicated himself to this goal, building off all of the accomplishments of his 2006 season, including showing up to the Boston Build-up races after pulling all nighters at work. This past Sunday at the Rock ‘N Roll Marathon in San Diego, Tom crossed his finish line by finishing in 3:19:47 and qualifying for a spot in the 2008 Boston Marathon. Tom’s performance on Sunday adds him the the growing list of Race with Purpose athletes that have achieved this distinction. Tom’s efforts should remind us that we all stumble and it’s what we do afterwards that defines who we really are.

Please join me in congratulating a great runner and an even better friend. Way to go Tom!

 

From: Tom Storey [mailto:storeyt@us.ibm.com]
Sent: Sunday, June 03, 2007 10:02 PM
Subject: MY Boston Qualifier

Well,

I’m pretty tired right now as I ran the San Diego Rock and Roll Marathon this morning in perfect June Gloom (which cleared into a beautiful day right after I finished) and finished in 3:19:47 which qualifies me to run the Boston Marathon (with 1:12 to spare :) )

It wasn’t the best race for me with respect to split times but I got the job done and felt good enough this afternoon to go walk around the SD Zoo for about three hours.

Talk to you all next week,

Tom