I have to admit I loved reading this one; in Kenya’s Safaricom Kisumu Marathon over the weekend course officials caught runners cutting the course. What did they do? Arrest them. There’s a point for the honest harriers!
I was thinking about this not very long ago when during a Thanksgiving Day Turkey trot a friend of mine was leading, then as he took a turn towards the finish line out of nowhere he saw a woman (pushing a jogging stroller no less) cut in from a side street up ahead and cross the line in front of him. It was determined she has shaved off quite a chunk from the 5k course and was rightfully disqualified. But I guess she did set the course record for the 2.2 mile race?
Really? Cutting a course, it makes me wonder what these people are trying to accomplish, does a ‘win’ really give you the same kind of satisfaction if you cheat to do it? Running is a very self-sacrificing kind of sport and part of the reason the majority of us do it is because it comes down to the sweat, pain, and anguish of hard work and dedication…that those PR’s and wins are hard fought and THAT’S what makes them so rewarding, am I right?
Course cutting is one kind of cheating, and I don’t think I even have to delve into the whole drug issue. Sadly, it’s a reality, no denying it. But I’ve always been of the camp of knowing I just couldn’t live with myself if I were dirty and out there competing. (Not to mention I’d feel gross being dirty with drugs period…I’d feel like I’d be walking around with a big scarlet letter on my chest…but that’s just me.)
I’ve heard the ‘excuse’ some athletes that head down the road of drugs say: “Everyone else is doing it, so by taking these I’m only leveling the playing field.” That’s a cop-out, and while there will always be cheaters, that doesn’t mean that everyone has to lower themselves to that level. Sure, if you lose to a dirty athlete will it sting? Hell ya. But in the end you are still striving for your best and at least have the satisfaction of the PR’s and stand-out personal performances you do achieve.
Sure, that warm and fuzzy feeling inside may not come with the prize money or the record or title, (How do you think poor Suzy Favor-Hamilton feels after losing out to so many races to Regina Jacobs after it finally was confirmed the latter had been using drugs…you can’t go back in time and reclaim every single loss!) but in the end I certainly believe athletes who’s achievements come clean and without cheating (any kind, course cutting included!) are far more respected and inspiring.
I wanted to thank you all for the awesome comments I received on yesterday’s post about the gap in times between the genders. I really enjoyed reading your perspectives and I agree that because there are just more woman out there at races it lowers the time averages, and skews the picture the numbers portray. I also really liked the point Katherine brought up which has always sort of bugged me, in that certain qualifying or cut-off times for the women are ‘softer’ than the men. Doesn’t gender equality go both ways, why should it be easier for a woman to get into a certain race/event than a man? I would actually take that as an offense, don’t you think a woman can work her butt off just as much to push for that faster time? Just saying…
1) Course cutting cheaters, have you ever had an experience with them? Were they caught? What do you think is a proper penalty?
How about after the race we put them in stocks and let the racers throw their banana peels and Powerbar wrappers at them? 😉
2) Drug cheating…I know it’s like opening up a can of worms, so I’ll just keep it short. What’s your opinion or what is an ‘excuse’ you think athletes use for taking them?
3) Softer race qualifying times for women, what are your thoughts on this?