Over the weekend, something a little disturbing was brought to the attention of the running community. I found out about it through Half Fanatics.
At the Destin Half Marathon, a woman was pulled from the course for running intervals. Why? Because the race was for runners only, not walkers.
Here are the facts as I understand them:
- The race had a posted 3 hour time limit
- The waiver does say “Run Only” at the top, but nowhere is it stated that interval runners aren’t welcome, and the average person may think this is to differentiate from the walker friendly 5K (the 10K and half were listed as “Run Only”).
- This would have been the runner’s 18th half marathon.
- To stay within the 3 hour limit, one must run an average of a 13:44 pace or less.
- She was picked up in the first mile while run/walking at an average 11:50 pace.
- She admits that at this point, she was the last runner, but as many Galloway runners know, you very quickly begin to “pick off” other runners who started out too fast.
- As of this writing, she has received no apology or refund.
I know people who have qualified for Boston doing a run/walk pattern. Many have found that they run stronger by doing a run/walk pattern. Clearly, Jeff Galloway was onto something when he began to promote this strategy. Sure, it’s not for everyone, but it works.
Don’t get me wrong, I fully agree with race time-limits. I wouldn’t call a half with a 3 hour time limit walker friendly. That said, I don’t consider a Galloway runner a walker. Additionally, if a race-walker wanted to show up, I wouldn’t think the race would be unfriendly to them. Those people are FAST!
Some people complain that the slow runners are “dumbing down their sport,” and to them, I just roll my eyes. I hate to see that impression. And for a race to treat a runner in this manner just continues that attitude. I hope this runner receives an apology and a refund. Unfortunately, she is not local to Destin and also traveled for the race, so she is out that money as well. But she did not deserve to be treated in this manner and I hope no other Galloway runner suffers this fate.