Monday, June 27, 2011

I fought the law... and I WON!

Last weekend at the Patriot Half, I was given incorrect information from the race director at a crucial time that led me to believe I wouldn't be given the full time I planned to have in order to finish the race. When I contacted him after the race regarding the situation, he said he wasn't going to place me into the Aquabike division because they felt 
"(you) did not look ready to complete a half marathon and with the toll the heat was taking on athletes (we had many suffering from heat exhaustion) we felt it best you didn't continue. I think this was the right decision to make and I'll stand by it."
The problem here is that instead of pulling me from the course, or even addressing it with me that they thought I didn't look ready to continue, they gave me bad information, apparently intentionally bad information, in order to discourage me from continuing while they allowed others to finish. I admit it was a hot day, and I was slower on the bike than I hoped, but I felt good and ready to continue, and I was 10 minutes under my Timberman time at that point, with an easier half-marathon course ahead. There's no way it can be said that this was influenced by anything other than my size, as I was fully prepared to complete the half-marathon, and if they thought I was ill prepared to continue, they could and should have pulled me from the course as they had done to others.

Before he sent that response, I was resigned to leaving it alone; but when he told me his reasons behind my being given the wrong information; I WAS FURIOUS. In the time it took for them to give me bad info, they could have asked me how I felt, and not only would I have told them I felt good, but that while I was off my goal pace I was ahead of my prior half. They could have then made a decision not to allow me to finish if they felt I wasn't prepared. No one took a second to ask me how I felt, or if I was ready to finish the race or anything like that.

At that point, I made the decision to talk to USA Triathlon to see if there was an appeal process and to understand why I was given information that didn't match with the decisions made in regards to other competitors. When I provided the context of the discussion to the head of the USAT referees here was his response:
Event organizers are allowed to set deadlines or cut-off times for each part of their race.  The race director enforces those times.  From your letter, it appears that the race director was somewhat ambiguous in his reply to your question concerning the run cut-off, but you were given the sense that you probably could not make it and you voluntarily dropped out of the event.  Later you discovered that the cut-off was not enforced after all.  Had you known that you would not have dropped out.  While you have no case for appeal, since you elected to drop out, even though based upon information that was later changed, I think it would be a fair request for you to ask the RD to reinstate you in the Aquabike.  He may have reason not to, that I am unaware of, but you can certainly make the request.
When I sent this to the Race Director, he agreed to make the change to put me in the Aquabike. It doesn't make up for the fact that I didn't get the chance to finish the race, but at least it's a result that matches the part of the race i was allowed to finish.

With that out of the way, my focus has turned to the upcoming races. Rach is working on the July and August training schedules, and we're using a free trial week at a local sports club to get some extra pool time. We're packing for our move (to wherever that will be) so we'll be balancing ramped up mileage and moving prep. I did a 7 mile run/walk on Sunday, and we'll be swimming today and I have softball and some running tonight.

1 comment:

  1. Congrats on getting your DNF changed to the Aquabike. I would be equally outraged at the RD's response as well!

    Happy to hear that Timberman was a great experience for you-thanks for stopping by my blog! After I reg'd I came here to check out your RR from last year :) Of course, with a blog name like Becoming Timberman it was one of the first things I thought of!