Friday, January 24, 2014

Competitor Brings Back the Elite Support

As announced on , the Competitor Group, owner of the Rock 'n' Roll Marathon series, is bringing back its elite athlete program.  It seems like it's great news to runners who run for their paycheck, as it helps them put food on their table.

This is probably a result of receiving such a backlash after taking away prize money/travel money/ appearance fees from their events last year.  It turned the Competitor Group into one of the most hated names in elite running almost overnight but personally, I wasn't part of the witch hunt (nor do I consider myself an elite runner and I don't plan on quitting my day job). While giving out money to help support athletes was a great thing and I support it 100%, I have the belief that fat-cat CEO's should spend their money however they want. I think it's great if they support noble and worthy causes but I don't feel like they should be forced to. If they'd rather sit on their yacht and sip on Cristal instead of putting their money towards more humanitarian type causes, so be it.  I won't respect you for it but I feel it's your right since it's your money.

Oh, the Drama

With this recent turn of events, elite runners need to show they are worth the support.  My Newton teammate, Tyler McCandless, spent his time before the Kauai Marathon visiting schools and handing out new pair's of Newtons to kids who needed them.  And just this past weekend, my Houston Marathon roommate, Patrick Rizzo, talked to middle school students about living healthy lifestyles.  It's good to give back to the people who support you.  You hear all of the time about how there is a huge disconnect between elite runners and those who run for fun or different reasons.  Why should people care about elite runners when a lot of elite runners don't care about them?  And I'm not talking about giving some watered down speech or generic running tips but becoming more involved in the running community and seeing them as equals, whose goals are just as important as their own.  Not because they feel it's some form of charity, but because they actually care and want to.  Too often, the mindset is to take or think "what can you give me" rather than contributing something as well.

A lot of elite runners actually do a great job of that.  They interact with people at races, take part in community group runs and are very accessible to nearly everyone, whether in person or online.  I can't count the amount of times I've sent someone an email about something and got a really in-depth and helpful response. But then you come across the fast runners who only hang out/talk with other fast runners.  Now most of them aren't like that but you'll come across those who have some form of an elitist attitude and frown upon anyone whose PR is a hair slower than theirs.  Why that mindset when their main accomplishment in life is moving their legs fast while weighing less than their girlfriend or wife (for the record, I weigh more than Mary)? I don't know why really.  You'd have to ask them,well, if your PR is faster than theirs. People who run more-so for fun are really the ones who keep the sport alive because they are the ones who spend hundreds, if not thousands of dollars a year on race fees, shoes, apparel, etc. If everyone were elite, the sport would fold-up and die relatively quickly.  I've heard a few people gripe about having to spend money on an entry fee while a lot of people don't think twice about spending a G or two to be able to compete in the Boston Marathon.

So hopefully the support from the Competitor Group hangs around.  And maybe they will throw a few bones my way to run the Country Music Marathon again. Or hopefully at least they will bring back the full size guitars as trophies instead of the little wooden ones.


  1. Nice Gibson Les Paul trophy. Be pretty sweet to win one of those.

  2. Yeah, for real. I was bummed when they didn't have them last year.