Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Nike Women's Marathon

It's been a while since I last posted.

I guess I didn't take the time to write...or maybe I just didn't have anything important to say. Now I do.

It's about the Nike Women's Marathon, held in San Francisco last Sunday. I've had a few days to read and think about it and, quite frankly, I'm not happy with Nike's handling of the situation.

It seems that Arien O'Connell set a PR and ran the fastest women's time in 2:55:11. However, the "winner" of the race ran a 3:06 something. It turns out that Arien thought of herself as a, "good solid runner" but didn't think of herself as an elite runner. So she did not line up with the so-called elite runners who started the race 20 minutes earlier.

Hmmm, I'd consider an open runner who could clock a 3 hour marathon as a good solid runner too. But I have to agree with Arien that that doesn't make you an elite runner. And by the way, only a few of the "elite" runners in the Nike Marathon even broke 3:20. In fact, more non-elite runners broke 3:20 than elite runners...go figure.

Anyway, I'm disappointed, to say the least, in Nike's current stance that they have, "...declared our winner" (per Nike media relations manager Tanya Lopez). Evidently, their primary argument is that it was two different races on the same course (I wonder if the race applications clearly indicated that).

Personally, I'm not buying their argument and until/unless Nike reverses their stance on this race, I'm not buying their products either.

There is a lot of press regarding this race and I encourage you to check it out for yourself.



Chip Tyme said...

Here is Nike's response to an earlier email I sent to them today.

Response (Kraig) - 10/22/2008 10:36 AM

Hello, I appreciate you taking the time to contact us with your feedback about the Nike Women’s Marathon in San Francisco.

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. Sincerely, Nike+/Nike Running

Gaslight ;-) said...

There was no reason for this race, or for most others, to have a separate elite wave. Isn't that what corrals are for?

I'm glad they made good on this, as I do like their visors. :-)

Chip Tyme said...

The main problem I have with Nike's response is that they declared Arien, "...a winner..." NOT "THE" winner.

In my mind, Arien was THE winner.

Lesson learned

Priscilla said...

I completely agree. I hear most saying that Nike made it right by recognizing her but I don't think they made it right at all. She was absolutely the only winner. Also, if Nike were to continue the elite wave they should clearly state how they redefine the elite standards (3:20 and under). Wow I know a lot of elite runners!