“Integrity is doing the right thing when no one is watching”
A runner has been banned from this year’s Boston Marathon and all future B.A.A. (Boston Athletic Association) events, apologizes, says she meant no harm, and has supporters who feel bad for her and think she receive unfair punishment.
That’s the story in a nutshell. Now let’s look a little deeper at what happened:
Runner qualifies for 2015 Boston Marathon (yay).
Runner gets pregnant and is unable to run (bummer but yay for a baby).
Runner gives her bib to someone who did not qualify (not cool).
Runner assumes that person’s finish time as her own and uses it to register for 2016 Boston Marathon (liar, cheater, deceiver).
She deserves the punishment she got. I can’t even believe there’s any debate on this and that people are supporting her. One supporter says what she did is okay because Boston is a race that’s “almost impossible for anyone to get into these days.” Um, I got into it. My friend, Don got in. My friend, Kristen ran it only a couple years ago. How in the world did all of us, regular folks, got into an impossible race? By working hard and putting up a qualifying time in another marathon.
Furthermore, I can’t believe she tried to make excuses, saying things like “we all innocently transfer our bibs.” Um, no, we don’t all do that. And even if people do it in most races, there’s nothing innocent about transferring a race bib, one that has to be earned, to someone who didn’t earn it. Another humdinger she came up with, “This year I was able to run…healthy and not pregnant…so I was going to run Boston!” Um, let’s not forget, you registered this year using someone else’s time. So just because you’re healthy and able to run doesn’t mean you are entitled to.
Speaking of excuses, there are plenty more “buts” this runner and her supporters could use to rationalize what she did and excuse her behavior. All are bullshit and, even though you’ve probably read multiple opinions on this story by now, I’m going to give mine.
But…she didn’t sell her bib
B.A.A. rules clearly state that you cannot transfer bibs. As I stated above, this isn’t a typical race where you pay a fee and get to run; it’s a race that one must qualify to run. Giving a bib to someone who didn’t earn it is disgraceful to those who did and those who barely missed the cut or who did qualify but still missed the cut.
That’s right; so many people want to run the Boston Marathon that some people who qualify still don’t even get to run it. Had this runner forfeited her bib like she should have, she could have opened up a spot to a legit qualifier who barely missed the final cut.
But…people who can’t run races give away their bibs all the time
I don’t believe this is true. I mean, I know it happens but not “all the time.” And even if they do, let me repeat: the Boston Marathon isn’t a typical race you just sign up for and get to run. You have to earn your spot. People work for months, years to get that bib.
Anyone who runs this race and didn’t earn their way in is just as disgraceful as the person who gave away the bib. A disgrace to the prestige of this race and the elite status it has earned.
But…she was pregnant and had to forfeit her place when she did qualify
Good for her, she decided to get pregnant. That was her choice. She knew a consequence of that choice was she’d have to forfeit her place in the race. The fact she applied for a pregnancy deferral (to try to carry over her qualifying time to this year instead of having to lose it last year) only further shows that she knew what she was doing was cheating.
But…she has qualified to run before
Think about this: A few years ago, I ran a 42:40 10k and won the race. The next year, I didn’t run as fast and came in second. The woman who beat me ran the race in 43 minutes and change. Since I ran faster than her the year before, should I have demanded I be the winner of that race?
See how stupid that sounds?
But…the woman who got the bib ran a time that was of BQ standards
Really? Please see above statement. Actually, all of them – please see ALL of the above statements.
No more buts. The B.A.A. has the authority to set its rules and punishments for those who violate those rules. And it has every right to uphold those rules to their fullest extent. If they didn’t, would we all train so hard for the honor of running this race?
Bravo, B.A.A. It’s nice to see an organization that has the balls to hold people accountable for their own actions. I can’t stand it when people make excuses for their bad choices and expect no repercussions or, worse, expect sympathy. I have even more respect for the BAA and even more pride to be part of one of its races. Side note, I don’t know whether or not the woman who ran with the bib she didn’t earn was banned too – but I hope so.
Now let me just say something else here: I’m not naïve. I know this runner isn’t the first person to do this and certainly won’t be the last. I know celebrities and other people of influence or stature are allowed to run the Boston Marathon without having to qualify. I’m not happy about it but, again, the B.A.A. has the authority to set the rules and I support it.
Finally, to the runner who did this. You know what you did was disrespectful to the B.A.A. and anyone who has earned their spot in this race. You don’t need to hear it from me – even though you just did. And I don’t care you admitted what you did and posted an apology. I’m not a gambling woman but I’d wager my house that you only did so because you were caught. Had you not been caught, you would have run and never spoke a word about your error in judgment. So I have no respect for you for “owning up” to this. When no one was watching, you chose to do what you knew was wrong.
I guess, maybe now in hindsight, she really does mean it. Or maybe, deep down, she still feels like the victim and the actions were justified because the intentions were good. Like I said, at this point, I don’t care. What I do care about is she was caught and punished, and hopefully that will discourage others from lying, cheating and tarnishing the honor of this race. A race I personally worked my ass off for three years to be able to run. A race tons of people never get the opportunity to run, even if they qualified or because they missed the cut by as little as one minute.
There, you’ve all now heard what I think. Now I want to hear what you think. Runners and non-runners, do you agree with me or think I (and the B.A.A.) are being too harsh on this runner? Please comment below or tweet me @runlikeagirl311 on Twitter.
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Good for you for taking a stand on this. I totally agree. I could look the other way on the bib transfer, but not on using the time to get back into the race.
You have presented some great arguments here! Absolutely no justification for what she did. The only problem is that SHE STILL WON’T GET iT!!