Wednesday, October 22, 2008

NIKE Does Right Thing in SF

If you've been following the mess from the NIKE Women's Marathon in San Francisco, the following statement was released today, declaring the woman with the fastest time the winner. She was 11 minutes faster than the woman who initially was declared the winner because she ran from the elite wave. The situation was amazingly similar to the Wesley Korir saga in Chicago.
Nike is announcing today that it recognizes Arien O'Connell as a winner in last weekend's Nike Women's Marathon with the fastest chip time, completing the full race in 2:55:11. She shattered her previous time and achieved an amazing accomplishment.
Arien will receive the same recognition and prize, including a Tiffany bowl, the full marathon elite group winner received. Arien was unfortunately not immediately recognized as a race winner because she did not start the race with the elite running group, which is required by USATF standards. Because of their earlier start time, the runners in the elite group had no knowledge of the outstanding race Arien was running and could not adjust their strategies accordingly.
Learning from the unique experience in this year's race, Nike has decided today to eliminate the elite running group from future Nike Women's Marathons. Next year, all runners will run in the same group and all will be eligible to win.
Nike has a proven track record of supporting athletes and we're proud to be able to honor Arien and other athletes who surpass their goals and achieve great accomplishments.


Nettie said...

I like that they are eliminating the elite section. Do you think USATF will make any changes to their rules?

Bob Richards said...

USATF's Jim Estes has been quoted in various places as saying no one saw this coming. I don't know if it will mean new rules or fewer separate elite waves. Check out the Boston Marathon site. They are very explicit about women not in the elite wave not being eligible for prize money. USATF needs a good discussion on this for sure.