Three (3) top finishers of the 2018 Boston Marathon won’t get prize money due to the fact they’re women. The marathon has exceptional policies for guys and women. Because of them, three female who finished in the top 15 this year isn’t eligible for prize money they would have obtained if they were men.
On a wonderful article wrote by In 2004, the Boston Marathon changed its setup so that the pinnacle female runners would start about a half of an hour in advance of the pack in an effort to “better showcase the women’s elite field.” Fourteen years later, in 2018, that adjustment left three top 15 women finishers ineligible for prize cash they would have been entitled to have they been men. Critics are crying foul, whilst others are pronouncing it’s just an unlucky and unusual side effect.
Here’s what happened: Men and women at the Boston Marathon have specific parameters for when they start. This year, the “elite women,” or forty-six of the satisfactory of the best, certified to begin at 9:32 am in the elite group. Another crew of women started in wave one, at 10 am. The “elite men” started out at 10 am as well, as did the first wave of men. The elite guys get a 50- to 60-foot head begin as hostile to the 28 minutes the elite girls get. If it looks confusing, here’s a video of what it looks like.
The male runners who start in the first wave of men are eligible to race with the elites, so if they pass the guys who received a head start, they can nonetheless win prize money. But for the lady runners, if they’re no longer in that original elite crew of 50 or so runners, they can’t — even if their last instances place them among the pinnacle competitors.
That’s exactly what occurred this 12 months to three women racers. Fifth-place finisher Jessica Chichester, who ran a time of 2:45:23; 13th-place finisher Veronica Jackson, who completed at 2:49:41; and 14th-place finisher Rebecca Snelson, at 2:49:50, are all ineligible for the prize money they would have been awarded had they started out with the elite women. And had they been men, it wouldn’t have been a problem.
All of the 16,587 male racers have been eligible for prize cash in this year’s marathon. Just 46 of 13,391 female was. This year’s race winner, Desiree Linden, completed in two hours, 29 minutes, and 54 seconds.
“Of course I need to be awarded the prize money because I feel what I did — what I’m sensing from the public and from the human beings I recognize— is an awesome thing,” Chichester, a 31-year-old nurse from Brooklyn, informed me. “I don’t suppose each person from the hundreds has damaged into the pinnacle 15 when you consider that 2004, and I think we deserve something for that.”
Chichester, who worked a 10-hour shift the day after the race, is missing out on a $15,000 prize generally awarded to the fifth-place finishers of female and men. The 13th-place finisher, Jackson, would be awarded $1,800 had she been in the elite group, and the 14th-place finisher, Snelson, $1,700.
Chichester, Jackson, and Snelson all seem as top-15 finishers on the Boston Marathon’s 2018 results website. But they won’t be accumulating a cash prize. The cash will alternatively go to the pinnacle 15 finishers inside the elite team — in other words, three girls who had slower times but have been prequalified as elite.
The guidelines had been clear from the beginning. That doesn’t imply they’re good.
Boston Marathon organizers in 2004 changed the way the women’s race is set up by way of enforcing a separate start time for top lady runners that’s about a 1/2 an hour ahead of the first wave of the rest. The overhaul was intended to allow the quickest women in the race to “race each other besides obstruction,” T.K. Skenderian, communications director for the marathon organizer the Boston Athletic Association, instructed me. “It allowed for the women’s race to get the attention it deserves and now not to be overshadowed through the men’s race,” he said, adding that the decision used to be communicated with the athletes.
This year, a female had to have a earlier performance of 2:47:50 or faster to qualify for elite women’s status and therefore get into that first 9:32 group. Women over forty had been eligible if they had a time of 2:54:00. Men had to have a qualifying time under 2:24:00 or 2:25:00 to get the 50-foot head start, Skenderian said.
The Boston Marathon’s website lays out the separate regulations for women and notes that the elite female “will be scored separately” from the girls beginning in the open field. The policies additionally kingdom that women who “choose” not to take part in the elite wave waive the proper to compete for prize cash — besides the women left out, of course, didn’t choose. For example, Chichester’s prior time was 2:53:30, about six minutes slower than the qualifying time for the elite group. “I would have started out there if they had allowed me in there,” she said.
“This is a nuanced factor that has by no means happened, and when you get down to the real DNA of what we’ve built, it’s been finished solely with fairness in mind, only with an even playing field in mind, and this year, with the situations that unfolded, yeah, it was a little different,” Skenderian said. “This year, like each year, we’re going to take time to consider any changes moving forward to the event.”
Chichester said the Boston Athletic Association has no longer answered to her inquiries about the prize money rules. The insurance plan firm John Hancock, one of the race’s top sponsors, has acted as a type of mediator and stated it is reviewing the techniques with the BAA.
“This creates limitations for runners like me who are at the top amongst average runners and who can get in with the elite women and compete towards them, but we’re no longer given the probability to, and I don’t think it’s fair,” Chichester said.
The rely has kicked off the chatter in the marathon community. Mario Fraioli, a running instruct, and writer of the running newsletter the Morning Shakeout, in his Monday letter responded to Chichester’s complaints and a BuzzFeed article about the situation. “Chichester caught a hard spoil at Boston by using jogging the fifth fastest time on the day en route to an 8-minute private nice while not being eligible to take domestic any prize money, however she was not a sufferer of sexism,” he wrote. “She used to be an unfortunate sufferer of the rules, which had been put in the area to make certain equity for all the athletes, not as a prejudice towards women.”
A lot of races are genuinely set up this way
The Boston Marathon is now not the sole major race to have a wonderful set of regulations for girls and men. The New York City Marathon, for example, does something similar. Michael Pieroni, the athletic overall performance director for the BAA, informed the Boston Herald that each Abbott World Marathon Majors event, which runs marathons all over the world, and different main prize cash races “have really the same policy” as Boston.
“It’s honestly virtually common,” Steve Magness, an elite long-distance coach, advised me. “A decade or two ago, races figured that to show off the women’s field, if they began them earlier than the men, then the girls bought more tv coverage, more exposure for the race, and they didn’t become a secondary part of the men’s race.”
This is the first time the Boston Marathon has run into a problem with non-elite women ending with instances that theoretically would make them eligible for prize money. This year’s race was an especially brutal one weather-wise, with runners going through rain, excessive winds, and temperatures in the 40s. The winning instances for both men and women have been the slowest in view that the 1970s, in accordance with the New York Times, and the mid-race dropout charge used to be up 50 percent overall.
It’s challenging to examine instances from one race to another, even if they’re on the equal path and solely minutes apart. Each race has its own dynamic, with different pacing, strategies, and tactics.
“This year, the weather and craziness of the race just modified the dynamic,” Magness said. “I’m now not positive it’s something that’s a total flaw in the feel that this is a once-in-a-generation sort of tournament for a marathon that we’ve seen, and I recognize the exposure that it’s got, and I genuinely feel for the ladies who ignored out, but … it’s difficult to suss out.”
Different policies for men and women in sports is a feature, not a bug
Skenderian, from the BAA, informed me the prize money shape for the elite guys and female has been equal for many years. “The guidelines are the same, the prize cash is the same, absolutely everyone is racing off of the same gun time,” he said.
Of course, that’s now not the case — the setup is, in fact, specific for guys and women. But that’s not exotic in sports.
Men have continually played full-court, five-on-five basketball, while women’s basketball used to be initially six-on-six and players have been stuck on their halves of the court. A women’s basketball is nevertheless a bit smaller than the men’s ball. Women play softball; men play baseball. Women in tennis play three sets; guys play five.
“It definitely goes all the way returned to the early twentieth century, where women’s sports have been modified to make them greater acceptable,” Susan Cahn, a professor at the University of Buffalo with an know-how in gender and sexuality in sports, advised me. “It always ability that women’s is the lesser, and so it affirms men’s sports activities as the ‘real thing’ and women’s as the modified or the marked other.”
The same goes for prize money. Women and guys didn’t get equal prize money at Wimbledon, for example, until 2007. “There are differences in reward and there are variations in structure, and those both mirror the lesser cost of women’s sports,” Cahn said.
To be sure, women’s sports activities have come a long way in latest decades, which include marathons. Kathrine Switzer in 1967 became the first female to officially run in the Boston Marathon. She registered as K.V. Switzer, and when officials realized throughout the race that she was once a woman, they tried to stop her. It wasn’t until 1972 that the Amateur Athletic Union — then the governing body for marathons in the US — let female formally take part in distance street running.
This year, the Boston Marathon organizers and the broader long-distance jogging neighborhood discover themselves at a bit of an impasse — their rules, whilst absolutely outlined beforehand of time and possibly well-intentioned, have left three girls besides prize money that they would have received had they been men.
“It seems like almost a microaggression,” Cahn said. “I do assume it possibly gives ladies more media coverage, due to the fact women get an infinitesimal of normal sports media coverage, but the prize money rule just appears as a useless rule.”
Chichester said she’s acquired offers to begin a GoFundMe web page to crowdfund the prize cash for her and the others who ignored out, but she doesn’t choose it. “I suppose that’s awesome and generous; however, I don’t sense right about accepting cash under that circumstance,” she said. “I desire the money to come from the Boston Athletic Association.”