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Woman Wins Marathon, Yet Doesn't


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#1 WhiteKnight77

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Posted 22 October 2008 - 12:37 AM

Recently, 24-year-old Arien O'Connell, a fifth-grade teacher from New York City, ran the fastest time of any of the women, ran the Nike Woman's Marathon in San Francisco with the fastest time, yet wasn't awarded first place. Apparently, you have to register as elite to win marathons as something similar happened in the Chicago Marathon a week before.

Read more about it in At Women's Marathon, fastest time didn't win by C.W. Nevius.

#2 WhiteKnight77

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Posted 23 October 2008 - 04:02 AM

Nike relented and named the woman "a" winner but not "the" winner after complaints to the company. Read more about it in Nike fudges, recognizes fastest marathon runner as "a" winner.

#3 Rocky

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Posted 23 October 2008 - 08:50 AM

She won by a clear margin too, and not starting in the elite would actually have made it harder for her to get a good time.

O'Connell ran the race in 2 hours, 55 minutes and 11 seconds. The fastest woman in the elite group ran it in about 3 hours, 6 minutes.


Bet Nike are cursing, or is it a case of no publicity is bad publicity?

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#4 WhiteKnight77

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Posted 23 October 2008 - 04:37 PM

I think it was a case of many complaints causing Nike to do half a right thing by giving her a trophy and the same amount of money the "crowned" winner got. Bad publicity from the complaints in many circles is probably what sparked Nike to do so. I mean, I posted this on a gaming website that reaches around the world. It's possible someone here could have called and lodged a complaint too.

#5 kleaneasy

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Posted 23 October 2008 - 04:55 PM

How strange, so unless you figure out in advance that you're really fast you cant be fast?

I dont know much about marathons but the idea of having to register to qualify to win even if you win seems odd, is this across all marathons or just this one?

#6 Sup

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Posted 23 October 2008 - 08:07 PM

As far as i can tell it's run as two different events? Basically the 'elite' race is between those competitors who have registered to race for the win and everyone else is basically exhibition?

You can't win an event you aren't competing in. She deserved the win, and it's good that they gave her a medal, but i dont understand why she expected to win a race she wasn't taking part in. She should have registered for it if she wanted to compete at that level, she obviously was capable of it.

Stop the divisions people...band together and say what you want from GAMES, not platforms.


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#7 WhiteKnight77

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Posted 24 October 2008 - 04:36 AM

As I said elsewhere Klean, a marathon is a competition to begin with. Why enter if you do not intend to win. As the article states, she didn't expect to win, but by her own admission, had a terrific day.

Most marathons or road races I have seen have staggered starts. World class/elite runners start first and everyone else follows later. The only ones to start before world class/elite runners are handicapped persons whether in a wheelchair or prostetic device. It is similar to starting the Baja 1000. You can't start everyone as they would trip over everyone or rather crash in the case of the Baja 1000 as everyone is trying to flow through an area not able to handle the flow.

It also has to do with timing. If everyone started at the same time, those in the back will be handicapped as they are waiting for those in front of them to start running while those at the starting line have a big head start. They get another clock to be timed with.

#8 kleaneasy

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Posted 25 October 2008 - 03:16 PM

That makes sense Sup although I wonder how easily someone new to racing would find that information? or did this women know and just not understand the level of her own ability?

#9 farmboy

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Posted 21 January 2010 - 05:33 AM

bump. probably no one cares at this point, but as someone who follows elite running...
it's not as simple as everyone is saying; you can't just say "I'm an elite, I want to be in that race." I'm surprised the officials said anything to the contrary in that article, since in almost every major race the elite division is by invitation only. Generally, the public is disbarred from it, because to professional competitors, amateurs tend to be nothing but a potential source of danger, as accidents happen, and because amateurs (I'm talking ones who couldn't compete, but think they can, here) have the potential to significantly affect the outcome. My point: it's generally bad to mix the fast with the slow. Thus, major races, to appease the elites which are bringing them notoriety, generally have a separate start for invited elites only (probably 10 minutes or so before the masses).
So...why can't an amateur's time be considered "winning" if it is faster than the pros? Well, because the pros are racing each other, not necessarily the clock. High level running races are very much like chess matches, and racing someone who started 10 minutes behind you would be somewhat like trying to play a game of chess without being able to see your opponent's queen. The elites can't react to the amateur until it's far to late.
Edit: it also sounds like she didn't actually cross the line first. race awards are based on gun time, ie whoever gets to the finish first wins irregardless of when they started. that's the rules of marathon, and if you actually read the rulebook you get in the race packet, it's stated pretty explicitly.

Edited by farmboy, 21 January 2010 - 05:37 AM.





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