Check before you enter
Janice Nichols writes over on the Barefoot Runners Society blog about being DQ’d for competing in a triathlon barefoot. I’ll let you read her post (and take a look around the site – some great stuff there!) but will give you my thoughts here.
Thought #1 – Irrational, that sucks, stupid, unfair, how could they, what?, haters, outrage! etc, etc.
Thought #2 – How very unfortunate for Janice and I feel genuinely bad for her.
It’s certainly too bad that the rules were written in such a way that she ended up with the DQ. It goes to show that barefoot running has a ways to go to become a more mainstream and acceptable method of running. It shows an overly narrow view of what makes a runner in the eyes of a select few. Fortuantely over time, that is beginning to change and barefoot running will continue to make inroads and become more accepted in traditional running formats.
Thought #3 – After reading about Janice’s experience, I will make it a point to check with the race organizer’s before hand if barefoot / minimalist shoes are allowed.
I think this serves two purposes. The first being that it gives me confirmation prior to shelling out the bucks for a race. My budget is pretty tight and running in organized (timed, etc) races is a luxury spend for me so it makes sense to make sure I will be able to compete prior to entering. Secondly, this gives me the opportunity to make sure the race organizers are aware that there is some barefoot interest out there. Race’s need participants to be successful and if a race director is not aware that they are denying a certain type of athlete this is a great opportunity to educate them and help them make the event available to a broader spectrum of people.
In the end, we should all take a lesson from Janice and if you are signing up for a competitive event that you haven’t been in before, make certain that they will welcome all runners.