I guess everyone who follows running knows that Competitor, the company that runs the Rock n Roll Marathon series, has dropped their support of elite runners so they can make more money.
The Brojos posted an interesting editorial about their stand, which in a nutshell advocates a boycott.
(side note: as I’m visiting letsrun now to read the anti-Rock n Roll rants, the banner ad I see is for the San Antonio Rock n Roll. Ironic, and not in the Alanis sort of way.)
The Boulder Running Company canceled an event that was to have been held in conjunction with event registration. Bloggers are in a tizzy, and I do not throw out the word tizzy lightly. Clearly, the natives are restless.
Me? I don’t know. In the age of $35 5k runs (and don’t even think about a t-shirt if you didn’t register a year in advance), I’ve grown numb to crazy-high entry fees with no return. Seems like races everywhere charge too much with a mostly volunteer crew and freebies from the community, so I’m not sure Competitor is any worse than anyone else. Maybe a bit more honest.
I guess I want to care about the sub-elites’ survival and the fostering of competitive running. But I’ve never much thought about the guys up front. To me, it was cooler seeing Shorter up in the starter box going by the start line than the knowledge in the back of my head that there was a 2:11 guy up front somewhere who would be back home before I hit the half split.
My only actual Rock n Roll experience with an elite was in San Diego one year when a Kenyan guy cramped out. He was sitting on the sidewalk waiting for a ride. I passed him. I beat an elite. That was a good day.
Obviously, it’s all about the money. These guys put on races to make a profit. But so does pretty much everyone with a field of over 20. If someone stops giving some arbitrary token amount back to runners, is that cause for alarm? I don’t buy shoes or shorts or Carmen Miranda hats with much thought about how much that company gives back to running. Should races be any different?
And if they’re going to do something with the excess profit, I’d be more excited if the money were going to local running programs for kids. I love to see kids at the local 5ks, forming a bond with running that hopefully will last a lifetime. That would be money well spent.
On the other hand, the guys affected aren’t rich. They’re just trying to make a living at their chosen occupation. As a journalist, daily watching corporations lay off hundreds of folks to make a more attractive bottom line, I sympathize with their plight. Although I do love an attractive bottom line.
As a good leftist, I feel the need to mobilize for a worthy cause and stick it to the Man. Maybe I’m just too old to care. Will this affect you? Do you care enough about the racing scene in America vs. the running scene that this would cause you to boycott? Would you boycott Nickelodeon because SpongeBob and Patrick are gay? Or because they’re not? And did it matter that SpongeBob, a selfless True Believer, worked for Mr. Krabs, who unapologetically was only in it for the money? And what if Rock n Roll took over Nickelodeon’s all-day SpongeBob marathon. Would you still watch?
Do I care? SHOULD I care? Beats me. I wish I were smarter.