I understand that not everything can be black and white. And often, I’m guided by my gut. Some things feel really really right. And some things just feel really wrong.
One of the things I’ve never really been into has been race banditing, or running races that you haven’t paid for. And another is in a race where transfers or deferments aren’t allowed, I’ve always had this gut feeling that even if I didn’t like the rules, that rules were rules, and if I didn’t follow them, I would pay the consequences, whatever the association thought that they should be.
The Boston Marathon is one of those races. It’s super cool. Super sacred. I knew nothing of the race until a few years ago (2010ish), when a friend at camp who was into running was sporting a jacket from the race. To be 100% honest, I just liked the jacket, and when I asked about it, she told me about the race. So for a long time, I thought about that race only in terms of getting that jacket. And not for fashions’ sake, but for the sake of actually doing something that could “win” you that jacket.
Years later, 2 to be exact, I ran my first half.
A few months later, I ran my first full.
Etc, etc and so forth. [10 points to whomever it is that gets that King & I reference.]
Now that I am pregnant, and was never a super fast runner to begin with, I’m not sure if I will ever qualify, but if I do, I know it will be such a special experience. Which is why I was kind of scratching my head at the predicament that Gia Alvarez found herself in.
Gia Alvarez is a pretty popular running blogger. She’s accomplished a lot. Long story short, Gia qualified for Boston, and by the time the race rolled around, she was pregnant and unable to run the marathon. Boston is a non-transferrable race – not only is it one of the US’ holy grails of marathons, but the tragedies in 2013 make it highly improbable that you’re going to pull any funny business with the B.A.A. Nevertheless, Gia made the decision to allow a friend to run with her bib. The B.A.A. was tipped off (they have cameras at these biggies), noted it wasn’t her in the photograph, and she was banned for life from the event. (Another really, really big mistake she made was registering again with her FRIEND’S qualifying time, and not her own, after her friend re-qualified her at the race. Not good. I’m not sure if she noted this at all in her post. But that really might be the worst of what she did, if she didn’t re-qualify on her own.)
Interestingly enough, fresh off the news that she’d been banned, instead of taking full responsibility for her actions, she seemed to nearly (not quite fully) deflect – even going so far as to alternately title the post “it could happen to you.”
She broke the rules. Whether they’re dumb or not. (And I don’t think they’re dumb). And she was dealt consequences. Which were very clearly outlined from the beginning. Like – this wasn’t really a surprise. Sucks, but it’s not a surprise.
Gia, I think upon receiving some flak, wrote another post, an apology a few days later. I’m not here to drag her or come for her edges. The internet certainly had done its fair share of that. However, I wish, upon getting her disappointing news, that she had owned the mistake a little more – not come back to it when the internet pointed out what a crappy decision she’d made.
All that said, I really hope that if she really, really would like to run it again, that maybe she can appeal and demonstrate to the B.A.A. that she learned from her mistake (and doesn’t feel the need to point out that “I did what so many of us do.”
In the words of our mothers/aunties/parents nosy friends, “if everyone else jumped off a bridge, would you jump too?”
What do you think of the situation?
What do you think of the consequences?